By Kate Holton
LONDON (Reuters) - London-based information provider Relx hiked its interim dividend by 10% on Thursday as a step-change in growth driven by demand for data analytics in the fraud prevention, science and legal sectors gathered momentum.
Relx, traditionally one of the most reliable performers on the London stock exchange since it transformed from an advertising-supported media group to faster-growing data and analytics, posted constant currency revenue up 13% in the first half of the year.
The company, created by the merger of Reed Business Information and Dutch firm Elsevier around 30 years ago, had previously grown by around 4%.
Finance director Nick Luff said growth rates at its science, technical and medical division, plus the legal unit, had sped up from around 2% to 4% as more customers bought analytic tools and algorithms to comb through research and data and help make decisions.
Referring to the tools that have always been popular with clients who use data to spot fraud, Luff said they were now driving growth in the legal and science sectors too.
"(They're) adding significant value to customers, getting good take-up and ultimately driving improved growth trajectory for us," he told reporters.
The group reiterated its outlook for its four different divisions, which also include exhibitions, and said that electronic revenue now accounted for 85% of the total.
Analysts at Citi said the first-half results signalled a 3-5% upgrade to consensus numbers.
"What is particularly exciting is the improvement in Legal organic growth (4% in the 1H) as this marks a significant step-up from history and which looks like it should be sustainable," they said.
Shares were trading down 1.7%, giving the firm a market valuation of 44 billion pounds ($53.59 billion).
($1 = 0.8210 pounds)
(Reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by William Schomberg)