Reuters shares drop on disappointing growth forecasts

Reuters shares drop on disappointing growth forecasts

Shares in news and information group Reuters have slipped eight per cent in early morning trading, despite the company reporting its first full-year of revenue growth in five years.

Reuters' stock lost 36.5 pence, it's biggest percentage drop for three years, as analysts reflected on a modest five per cent growth forecast for 2006. The revenue guidance includes expected gains from acquisitions. Forecast underlying growth of three per cent is someway shy of market expectations, which had helped lift the stock in the previous month.

Net income for the year ended December 2005 rose to £456 million pounds, up from £364 million pounds in 2004, boosted by £253 million banked from the sale of discontinued operations, including Instinet and Radianz.

Underlying full year revenue, discounting the effect of exchange rate movements, acquisitions and disposals, was flat year-on-year. Acquisitions, particularly of Telerate, accounted for most of the difference between actual and underlying increases. Reuters says a sales effort based on retention post acquisition drove better than expected revenue performance at Telerate in the second half.

With the Fast Forward cost-cutting regime behind it, Reuters is looking to its new Core Plus investment programme to generate growth in the coming year. In this latter respect, the vendor has scored an early coup with the signing of an enterprise-wide licensing deal with Citigroup.

Under the terms of the agreement, Citigroup will have access to a range of Reuters desktop products and services including Reuters 3000 Xtra, Reuters Trader, Reuters Knowledge, Reuters Wealth Manager, Reuters Plus and Reuters Messaging. Citigroup will also have access to Reuters latest enterprise offerings, which include Reuters Datafeed Direct, which connects organisations to trading venues such as exchanges at ultra-high speeds, and the Reuters Wireless Delivery System.

Reuters' chief Tom Glocer comments: "Customers are showing increasing confidence in our new products and the Core Plus strategy...I am confident that in 2006 we will increase growth while reinforcing our hard-won cost discipline."

View the full results statement:Download the document now 281.6 kb (Adobe Acrobat Document)

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