February 12, 2014 / 12:37 PM / 5 years ago

Thomson Reuters posts sharper-than-expected fall in profit

A logo of Thomson Reuters is seen during the Reuters Economic Forum at Santiago, November 8, 2013. REUTERS/Claudio Reyes

(Reuters) - Thomson Reuters Corp (TRI.N)(TRI.TO) on Wednesday reported a steeper-than-expected drop in fourth-quarter earnings, hurt by cutbacks at financial institutions in Europe and in emerging markets.

Chief Executive Officer Jim Smith said in a statement the external environment was tougher than anticipated at year-end, and the company forecast 2014 revenue would be flat, compared with 2013 results. Revenue, excluding divestitures and currency changes, increased 2 percent to about $12.5 billion last year.

Thomson Reuters said fourth-quarter underlying operating profit dropped 50 percent from a year ago, in part because of previously announced charges related to job cuts and other restructuring expenses. Excluding the charges, operating profit fell 5 percent to $577 million in the fourth quarter.

Thomson Reuters’ business has been challenged in recent years as one of its main customer bases, financial institutions, pulled back on spending, slashing costs and headcount.

During the fourth quarter, Thomson Reuters cut 3,000 positions, or roughly 9 percent of its workforce.

“While the external headwinds were stronger than anticipated at year-end, particularly in Europe and the emerging markets, I am pleased with the progress we continued to make inside the company and with our customers,” Smith said.

Thomson Reuters reported adjusted fourth-quarter earnings of 49 cents per share, below the average analyst estimate of 52 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Revenue for the quarter rose 1 percent to $3.265 billion, roughly in line with expectations.

Reporting by Jennifer Saba in New York; Editing by Tiffany Wu and Jeffrey Benkoe

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