By Najat Kantouar

Wolters Kluwer shares fell after the company said that it expects the rise in adjusted earnings per share this year to be damped by higher financing costs and taxes.

At 0837 GMT shares were down EUR0.60, or 0.5%, at EUR146.50, having fallen to a low of EUR140.20 earlier in the session. Over the past 12 months, shares are up 39%.

The Dutch information services company said Wednesday that it expects to book adjusted net financing costs in constant currencies of 60 million euros ($64.9 million) this year, up from EUR27 million in 2023. The tax rate is expected to be between 23.0% and 24.0%, compared with 22.9%.

This will result in mid-to-high single-digit percentage diluted adjusted EPS growth for 2024 compared with 12% in 2023. Diluted adjusted EPS for 2023 was 4.55 European cents.

Wolters also said that it expects to book between EUR10 million and EUR15 million in restructuring charges this year, compared with EUR15 million a year ago.

Net profit for the year ended Dec. 31 was EUR1.01 billion compared with EUR1.03 billion a year earlier and consensus of EUR975.2 million, taken from FactSet and based on 10 analysts' forecasts.

Adjusted operating profit--a company-preferred metric that strips out exceptional and other one-off items--was EUR1.48 billion compared with EUR1.42 billion. The adjusted operating profit margin rose to 26.4% from 26.1%, within company guidance of 26.1% to 26.5%.

For 2024, adjusted operating profit margin is expected to be in the range of 26.4%-26.8%, the company added.

Revenue rose to EUR5.58 billion from EUR5.45 billion, driven by strong momentum in recurring revenues, the company said. Consensus was EUR5.58 billion, taken from FactSet and based on the estimates of 11 analysts.

Within this, revenue from North America--representing 64% of total group revenues--grew 5% organically. Revenue from Europe grew 7% organically, while Asia Pacific and other segments' revenue grew 9% organically.

The board declared a final dividend of EUR2.08 a share, an increase of 15% and said that it plans to launch a share buyback program of up to EUR1.0 billion this year.

"We met our financial and sustainability goals, while increasing investment in product innovation, including in generative AI, to support future growth. We look forward to delivering another year of good organic growth and margin improvement in 2024," Chief Executive Nancy McKinstry said.

Write to Najat Kantouar at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

02-21-24 0413ET