Global publishing and information giant Reed Elsevier on Thursday posted a 20% surge in 2001 pre-tax profits to £848 million ($1.21 billion; €1.39bn) and declared it would beat its own forecasts for online growth.

The strong results follow the acquisition of US publisher Harcourt and the axing of a thousand jobs, with revenues up 18% to £4.6bn.

Chief executive Crispin Davis also attributed the results to a switch from paper to electronic publishing, especially in its science-based activities. The online unit is expected to generate over $1bn in revenue this year, ahead of projections drawn up by Reed two years ago.

However, all was not well at the magazine arm, which saw operating profits tumble 8% to £247m on the back of the ad slump, with revenues sliding 5% to £1.7bn. Davis warned there were no signs of an upturn readily apparent.

The ceo added that Reed would focus on organic growth for the foreseeable future. In addition, the group is to be reorganised into four global units: Elsevier Science, Harcourt Education, Reed Business and LexisNexis.

Data sourced from: BrandRepublic (UK); The Times (London); additional content by WARC staff