Reed Elsevier will stop its defence shows

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Reed Elsevier will exit the defence exhibitions sector following pressure from its authors and customers.

The company's five defence shows are part of its global Business division and represents around 0.5% of group annual turnover. Recently, however, Reed Elsevier's customers and authors, particularly in science and medicine, have been concerned about these shows and have signed petitions, boycotted its publications and protested in many other ways. Many protested at the 2005 DSEi arms fair, for example, because its exhibitors included manufacturers of cluster bombs and representatives of regimes with poor human rights records.

'Over the last year or so it has become increasingly clear that growing numbers of important customers and authors, particularly in the science and medical markets, have very real concerns with our involvement in this sector. They believe strongly that our presence here is incompatible with the aims of the science and medical communities,' commented Sir Crispin Davis, CEO of Reed Elsevier.

The company says that it intends to complete the withdrawal from this sector in the second half of 2007, subject to honouring its obligations to partners, customers and other key stakeholders.