Thomson Reuters defies downturn with profit boost

Thomson Reuters has announced operating profit up 13 per cent to $833m in its first full-year results since Thomson bought Reuters for $8.7bn in March 2008.

The Media sector of the company, which includes the newswires, reported revenue of $106m in the last three months of 2008 – down 15 per cent year on year – and revenue for the year of $450m, up four per cent.

No seperate profit figure was published for the Media division.

Thomson Reuters chief executive Tom Glocer said: “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.”

Revenue overall was up eight per cent to $13.4bn and the operating profit margin increased 2.8 per cent to 24.4 per cent.

The company said it now expected to save $1bn a year by the end of 2011 as a result of the merger, up from the $750m which was projected in May 2008.

Despite the global economic downturn, Thomson Reuters said it expects its revenues to grow in 2009.

It also said today that it expects the operating profit margin for 2009 to be comparable to 2008 – supported by revenue growth and the expected savings from integration and synergy programs.

Thomson Reuters employs more than 50,000 people in 93 countries and is listed on the New York, Toronto Stock Exchange and London stock exchanges.

Shares in London were up 76p at 1,398p at 3pm today.

Thomson Reuters journalists in London are currently in dispute with management over a proposal to impose a 1.25 per cent pay rise – with a further 1.25 per cent performance-related increase – and to increase the nine-day fortnight currently worked by some journalists to 10 days.

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