Challenging the current market conditions Thomson Reuters, the world's leading news and financial data publisher, reported strong results for the fourth quarter and full year ended 31 December 2008. The results reflect balanced contributions across the company's portfolio of businesses.
The company's fourth-quarter net income grew 52 per cent to $656 million, or 79 cents a share, compared with $432 million, or 67 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenues were at $3.4 billion, an increase of 5 per cent, while operating profit increased 13 per cent to $833 million.
Profit from ongoing businesses, excluding special items, was 57 cents per share, beating the average analyst forecast of 39 cents, according to Reuters Estimates.
Revenue in the company's closely watched markets division, which serves financial institutions, fell 2 per cent during the quarter to $1.9 billion, while overall revenue was flat at $3.4 billion.
Full-year revenues were at $13.4 billion, up by 8 per cent. Operating profit for the year increased 19 per cent to $2.8 billion.
In 2008, region wise revenues were 58 per cent from the Americas, 32 per cent from Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and 10 per cent from Asia.
''I am very pleased with the operating performance of Thomson Reuters in 2008, as well as the significant progress we achieved in integrating the acquired Reuters business,'' said Thomas H Glocer, chief executive officer of Thomson Reuters.
''As major economies slid into recession in 2008, we nonetheless continued to perform well, thanks to our proven business model of providing must-have content and services to professionals and our well-balanced set of businesses, both by market and geography.
''I am especially pleased we have been able to accelerate the Reuters integration, significantly increase the savings we expect to achieve, and reach our goal of becoming 'one company in one year'. While considerable work remains to consolidate operations and migrate customers to the new strategic products we will launch this year, we are beginning to benefit from the advantages of increased scale,'' he said.
The company, formed by Thomson Corp's purchase of Reuters Group Plc in April 2008, also said that it expected its underlying operating margin in 2009 to be comparable to 2008, supported by revenue growth and higher savings from integration.
"I think the good thing is that we're giving outlook at all. I've seen so many companies with supposedly decent visibility into their business this year pull back and say, 'Well it's too hard,'" Glocer said.
"I think it's going to continue to do better than people expect," the CEO said. ''Based on the current environment in the markets we serve, we expect our revenues to grow in 2009,'' he added.
"It is hard to see anything else outside the doom and gloom in the two financial and media capitals," he said. "It's going to be a tough year, but when you put it all together, we still think the company will be able to show growth."
The company also said its board had approved an increase in its dividend by 4 cents per share on an annualized basis. The quarterly dividend payable on March 26 is 28 cents per share.
Thomson Reuters also raised its forecast for annualised cost savings from the merger to $1 billion by the end of 2011, up from $750 million projected in May 2008.
Thomson Reuters is now beginning the second phase of the acquisition integration, which includes retiring legacy products and systems to simplify the business and help make it more agile, responsive and profitable.
In 2009, Thomson Reuters will roll out new strategic products, consolidate data centers and capture revenue synergies.
The integration plan does not include any new rounds of layoffs, Glocer confirmed. The company employs about 50,000 staff in 93 countries.