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2016-02-24

Wolters Kluwer NV: Wolters Kluwer 2015 Full-Year Report

February
24, 2016 - Wolters Kluwer, a global leader in professional information
services, today released its 2015 full-year results.

Highlights

* Revenues up 3% in constant currencies and up 3% organically . *
Digital&services revenues grew 5% organically (83% of total revenues). *
Recurring revenues grew 3% organically (76% of total). * North America and
Asia Pacific drove organic growth. * Leading, high growth positions grew 7%
organically (51% of total).
* Adjusted operating profit margin improves to 21.4%, in line with guidance.
* Diluted adjusted EPS €1.96, up 5% in constant currencies, in line with
guidance .
* Adjusted free cash flow €647 million, up 7% in constant currencies, better
than expected .
* Return on invested capital increased to 9.3% (2014: 8.5%).
* Net-debt-to-EBITDA improved to 1.7x at year-end (2014: 2.1x).
* Proposed full-year total dividend of €0.75 per share, up 6% .
* Outlook 2016: diluted adjusted EPS expected to grow at mid-single-digit
rate in constant currencies.
* Announcing intention to buy back up to €600 million shares over three years
(2016-2018), including anti-dilution buyback.
Nancy McKinstry, CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board, commented
:
"I am pleased to report we accelerated organic growth to 3%, despite the tough
comparable we faced in the fourth quarter and the challenges that remain in
some of our European markets. Our strategy of expanding our leading, high
growth positions, delivering innovations that help our customers excel, and
driving efficiencies, has supported our growth and increased margins and
returns. We are confident we can deliver another year of margin improvement
and earnings growth in 2016."

Key Figures 2015 Full-Year:

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| Year ended December 31 |
| (in millions of euros, unless otherwise stated) 2015 2014 D D CC D OG |
| Business performance - benchmark figures |
| Revenues 4,208 3,660 +15% +3% +3% |
| Adjusted operating profit 902 768 +17% +2% +3% |
| Adjusted operating margin 21.4% 21.0% |
| Adjusted net profit 583 470 +24% +4% |
| Diluted adjusted EPS (€) 1.96 1.57 +25% +5% |
| Adjusted free cash flow 647 516 +26% +7% |
| Net debt 1,788 1,897 -6% |
| Return on invested capital (ROIC) 9.3% 8.5% |
| IFRS results |
| Revenues 4,208 3,660 +15% |
| Operating profit 667 569 +17% |
| Profit for the year 423 474 -11% |
| Diluted EPS (€) 1.42 1.58 -10% |
| Net cash from operating activities 843 663 +27% |
| D: % Change; D CC: % Change constant currencies (EUR/USD 1.33); D OG: % |
|Organic growth. Benchmark (adjusted) figures are performance measures used by |
|management. See Note 5 for a reconciliation from IFRS to benchmark figures. |
|IFRS: International Financial Reporting Standards as adopted by the European |
|Union. |
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Full-Year 2016 Outlook

Our guidance for full-year 2016 is provided in the table below. We expect to
deliver margin improvement and to grow diluted adjusted EPS at a
mid-single-digit rate in constant currencies this year.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| 2016 Outlook |
| Performance indicators 2016 guidance |
| Adjusted operating profit margin 21.5%-22.0% |
| Adjusted free cash flow €600-€625 million |
| Return on invested capital >9% |
| Diluted adjusted EPS Mid-single-digit growth |
| Guidance for adjusted free cash flow and diluted adjusted EPS is in constant |
|currencies (EUR/USD 1.11). Guidance for EPS growth assumes the announced |
|share repurchases are equally spread over 2016-2018. Adjusted operating |
|profit margin and ROIC are in reported currency. |
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Our guidance is based on constant exchange rates. In 2015, Wolters Kluwer
generated more than half of its revenues and adjusted operating profit in
North America. As a rule of thumb, based on our 2015 currency profile, a 1
U.S. cent move in the average EUR/USD exchange rate for the year causes an
opposite change of approximately one and a half euro-cents in diluted
adjusted EPS.

Restructuring costs, which are included in adjusted operating profit, are
expected to start returning to normal levels: we expect these costs to be
around €15-€25 million in 2016 (2015: €46 million). We expect adjusted net
financing costs of approximately €105 million, excluding the impact of
exchange rate movements on currency hedging and intercompany balances. We
expect the benchmark effective tax rate to return to the range of 27%-28% in
2016. We expect a cash conversion ratio of approximately 95%, with capital
expenditure rising to around 5% of total revenue.

Our guidance assumes no significant change in the scope of operations. We may
make further disposals which could be dilutive to margins and earnings in the
near term.

2016 Outlook by Division

The outlook below reflects the new divisional structure introduced in August
2015.

Health
: we expect another year of good organic revenue growth in Health, supported
by robust organic growth in Clinical Solutions (the Clinical Effectiveness
and Clinical Software Solutions units) and a gradually improving trend in
Health Learning, Research&Practice. Margins are expected to improve slightly
as we continue to invest to drive organic growth.

Tax&Accounting
: we expect underlying revenue growth to improve slightly in 2016, driven by
continued mix shift towards software solutions. The first half is, however,
expected to see more muted growth due to normal seasonal sales patterns.
Margins are expected to ease in the first half, but to be maintained for the
full year.

Governance, Risk&Compliance
: we expect positive, but slower organic growth in 2016, as the division faces
challenging comparables for transactional and non-recurring license and
implementation fees, particularly in the first half. Margins are expected to
improve slightly.

Legal&Regulatory
: for the full-year, we expect organic revenue decline to be similar to 2015,
with print trends continuing to outweigh growth in digital. Organic growth in
the first half is expected to benefit from timing and one-off factors.
Margins are expected to improve due to lower restructuring costs. Efficiency
savings are expected to fund wage inflation and increased product investment.

Strategic Priorities 2016-2018

Every three years, we review and update our strategic priorities and this year
we are commencing our strategic plan for 2016-2018. This plan builds on the
strategic direction we have been following in the past three years during
which we prioritized capital allocation towards specific leading, high growth
businesses and focussed on delivering solutions that bring insights and
productivity benefits to our customers. We also stepped up efforts to drive
operating efficiencies. This strategy has delivered accelerated organic
growth in the past two years and has improved operating margins and return on
invested capital in 2015. Our 2016-2018 strategic plan aims to sustain and,
in the long run, further improve our organic growth rate, margins and returns
as we continue to focus on growing value for customers, employees and
shareholders. Our strategic priorities for the next three years are:

* Expand market coverage: We will continue to allocate the majority of our
capital towards leading growth businesses and digital products, and extend
into market adjacencies and new geographies where we see the best potential
for growth and competitive advantage. Expanding our market reach will also
entail allocating funds to broaden our sales and marketing coverage in
certain global markets. We intend to support this organic growth strategy
with value-enhancing acquisitions whilst continuing our program of small
non-core disposals.

* Deliver expert solutions: Our plan calls for increased focus on expert
solutions that combine deep domain knowledge with specialized technology
and services to deliver expert answers, analytics and productivity for our
customers. To support digital growth across all divisions, we intend to
accelerate our ongoing shift to global platforms and to cloud-based
integrated solutions that offer mobile access. Our plan is to also expand
our use of new media channels and to create an all-round, rich digital
experience for our customers. Investment in new and enhanced products will
be sustained in the range of 8-10% of total revenues in coming years.

* Drive efficiencies and engagement: We intend to continue driving scale
economies while improving the quality of our offerings and agility of our
organization. These operating efficiencies will help fund investment and
wage inflation, and support a rising operating margin over the long term.
Through increased standardization of processes and technology planning, and
by focusing on fewer, global platforms and software applications, we expect
to free up capital to reinvest in product innovation. Supporting this
effort are several initiatives to foster employee engagement.

Leverage Target and Financial Policy

Wolters Kluwer uses its cash flow to invest in the business organically or
through acquisitions, to maintain optimal leverage, and provide returns to
shareholders. We regularly assess our financial position and evaluate the
appropriate level of debt in view of our expectations for cash flow,
investment plans, interest rates and capital market conditions. Over the past
four years, our leverage has improved significantly and we finished 2015 with
net-debt-to-EBITDA of 1.7x, below our target of 2.5x. While we may
temporarily deviate from our leverage target...

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