Demand for products to detect online fraud boosts Relx

LONDON (Reuters) - Demand for products that detect and prevent online fraud helped European information provider Relx REL.L report a 4 percent rise in first-half underlying revenue, lifting its shares.

Previously known as Reed Elsevier, Relx has become one of the most reliable performers on the FTSE 100 Index after it moved from a media group publishing print-based titles to one focused on databases such as LexisNexis and ScienceDirect.

With a market value of 33 billion pounds and 30,000 staff, Relx has grown sales and profit steadily due to its broad presence across four divisions of science, risk and business analytics, legal and exhibitions.

Its shares rose 2.6 percent in early trading on Thursday, returning close to the record highs it enjoyed in December 2017, after it reported underlying revenue growth of 4 percent to 3.7 billion pounds, with underlying adjusted operating profit up 6 percent to 1.1 billion pounds.

Earnings per share of 41.1 came in slightly above the consensus of 40.8 pence.

The best performing unit was Risk & Business Analytics, where demand for new products to detect online fraud and confirm device identities in the U.S. and elsewhere helped its operating profit to rise 8 percent.

Growth also accelerated at the Scientific, Technical & Medical unit, up 3 percent in the first half of the year to end June, compared with 2 percent in the year before.

“As we enter the second half of 2018, key business trends are unchanged, and we are confident that.. we will deliver another year of underlying growth in revenue and in adjusted operating profit, together with growth in adjusted earnings per share on a constant currency basis,” the company said.

Reporting by Kate Holton, editing by James Davey and Paul Sandle