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Thomson Reuters struggles against sluggish markets

12 February 2014  |  1353 views  |  0 Source: Thomson Reuters

Thomson Reuters (TSX / NYSE: TRI) today reported results for the full year and fourth quarter ended December 31, 2013 .

The company achieved its 2013 Outlook, and today provided a business outlook for 2014.[1] Declines in earnings and profitability in both periods reflected previously announced charges (described below).

Revenues grew 2% for the full year and 1% for the fourth quarter, before currency
Including a $260 million charge in the fourth quarter, adjusted EBITDA was down 7% for the full year and down 32% for the fourth quarter
Including a $275 million charge in the fourth quarter, underlying operating profit was down 15% for the full year and down 50% for the fourth quarter
Full-year adjusted EPS was $1.54 vs. $1.89 in 2012 and fourth-quarter adjusted EPS was $0.21 vs. $0.54 in the prior-year period
Excluding the fourth-quarter charges, adjusted EPS was $1.83 for the full year and $0.49 for the quarter
The Board approved a $0.02 annual dividend increase to $1.32 per share; represents the 21 st consecutive annual increase in the company's dividend

"I am pleased that we were able to deliver on our full-year expectations, despite a tougher than expected external environment in the fourth quarter," said James C. Smith , chief executive officer of Thomson Reuters.

"More importantly, we took significant strides to position the company to thrive in future years. Our transformation initiatives are taking hold, costs are coming out and innovation is coming forth. Specifically, the charge we announced for 2013-14 is just one necessary element of the changes we have put in place to enable us to drive growth across the enterprise," said Mr. Smith.

"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. I am confident this progress will accelerate in 2014."

Declines in IFRS operating profit and diluted EPS were due to previously announced charges and significantly higher prior-year gains related tprogress will accelerate in 2014."

Declines in IFRS operating profit and diluted EPS were due to previously announced charges and significantly higher prior-year gains related to divestitures, which were $829 million in 2012 versus $195 million in 2013. 2012 divestitures included the Healthcare business and 2013 divestitures included the Corporate Services business. Additionally, the company recorded $836 million in tax charges in 2013 related to the consolidation of its technology and content assets. The decline in cash flow from operations was principally due to a $500 million pension contribution in the fourth quarter of 2013.

The decline in IFRS operating profit and diluted EPS reflected the previously announced 2013 charges. Additionally, in the fourth quarter of 2013 the company recorded a $425 million tax charge related to the consolidation of its technology and content assets. The decline in cash flow from operations was principally due to the $500 million pension contribution in the fourth quarter of 2013.


Full-Year Business Segment Highlights
Unless otherwise noted, all revenue growth comparisons in this news release are before the impact of foreign currency as Thomson Reuters believes this provides the best basis to measure the performance of its business.

Financial & Risk

Revenues were down 1% (down 3% organic) as growth in the Enterprise Content, FXall, Governance, Risk & Compliance and Elektron Managed Services businesses was more than offset by weakness in other segments, primarily the Equities and Fixed Income desktop businesses.
By geography, revenues in Europe , Middle East and Africa (EMEA) were down 3%, revenues in the Americas were up 1% (down 3% organic) and revenues in Asia were down 1%.
As of January 31, 2014 , billed Eikon desktops totaled approximately 119,000 and installed Eikon desktops totaled approximately 123,000 versus 76,000 and 96,000, respectively, on September 30, 2013 .
EBITDA declined 14% due to lower organic revenue and fourth-quarter charges of $172 million . The margin was 21.9% compared to 24.9% in the prior year.
Excluding fourth-quarter charges of $172 million , EBITDA declined 4% with a margin of 24.5%.
Operating profit declined 25% due to lower organic revenue, fourth-quarter charges of $178 million and a $32 million increase in depreciation and amortization primarily from investments made in prior periods. The margin was 12.3% compared to 15.9% in the prior year.
Excluding fourth-quarter charges of $178 million , operating profit declined 8% with a margin of 15.0%.

Trading

Revenues decreased 6% due to Equities and Fixed Income desktop cancellations throughout 2013.
Recoveries revenues were down 5%.

Investors

Revenues were flat versus the prior year. Enterprise Content revenues increased 7% helping to offset declines in other portions of the Investors business.

Marketplaces

Revenues increased 2% (down 3% organic). FXall was up 11%, reflecting strong growth in volumes and an increased user base. This was offset by a decline in FX revenues for the year in other Marketplaces businesses.

Governance, Risk & Compliance

Revenues grew 14% (10% organic) to $247 million due to strong demand for regulatory and compliance products and services.

Legal

Revenues increased 3% (down 1% organic). The decline in organic revenues was attributable to the continuing decline in US print revenues and a 10% decline in revenues from the Latin American business. Excluding US print, Legal revenues grew 5% (up slightly organic).
US Law Firm Solutions revenues were flat with strong growth in Business of Law revenues (FindLaw and Elite) offset by a 1% decline in research-related revenues.
Corporate, Government & Academic revenues grew 1%.
Global businesses grew 14% (down 1% organic) driven by strong growth from Practical Law (formerly PLC) offset by a decline in Latin American revenues.
US print revenues declined 6% as firms continued to reduce discretionary spending.
EBITDA declined 4% due to fourth-quarter charges of $37 million as well as the decline in US print and Latin American revenues. The margin was 35.6% compared to 38.2% in the prior year due to the dilutive impact of the acquisition of PLC and the decline in US print and Latin American revenues.
Excluding fourth-quarter charges of $37 million , EBITDA declined 1% with a margin of 36.7%.
Operating profit was down 7% with a margin of 26.9% compared to 29.6% in the prior year. The decline in the margin reflected the same items that impacted EBITDA margin performance.
Excluding fourth-quarter charges of $37 million , operating profit declined 3% with a margin of 28.1%.

Tax & Accounting

Revenues increased 9% (5% organic). Professional was up 10%, Corporate was up 17% (9% organic) and Knowledge Solutions was up 6% (3% organic). Government-related revenues declined 33% but were up 7% in the fourth-quarter as performance has begun to improve.
EBITDA increased 7% primarily due to increased revenue with a margin of 30.4% compared to 30.3% in the prior year.
Excluding fourth-quarter charges of $9 million , EBITDA increased 10% with a margin of 31.1%.
Operating profit increased 8% with a margin of 20.7% compared to 20.5% in the prior year.
Excluding fourth-quarter charges of $9 million , operating profit increased 12% with a margin of 21.4%.

Intellectual Property & Science

Revenues increased 11% (4% organic), driven by strong growth in subscription and transaction revenues, which grew 12% and 6%, respectively. IP Solutions grew 14%, Life Sciences increased 7% and Scientific & Scholarly Research increased 7%.
EBITDA was unchanged primarily due to fourth-quarter charges of $23 million with a margin of 31.0% versus 33.9% in the prior year.
Excluding fourth-quarter charges of $23 million , EBITDA increased 8% with a margin of 33.3%.
Operating profit declined 4% primarily due to fourth-quarter charges of $23 million with a margin of 22.9% compared to 26.3% in the prior year.
Excluding fourth-quarter charges of $23 million , operating profit increased 6% with a margin of 25.3%.

Fourth-Quarter Business Segment Highlights
Unless otherwise noted, all revenue growth comparisons in this news release are before the impact of foreign currency as Thomson Reuters believes this provides the best basis to measure the performance of its business.

Financial & Risk

Revenues were down 2% as a result of lower transaction volumes and declining subscription revenues driven by the impact of negative net sales in 2013. Organic revenues declined 3%.
Recurring subscription-related revenues decreased 2% (all organic) due to negative net sales in 2013. Transactions-related revenues increased 2% but were down 4% organically primarily due to lower market trading volumes in the foreign exchange and fixed income markets. Recoveries revenues were down 5% and outright revenues declined 1% (down 3% organic).
By geography, revenues in Europe , Middle East and Africa (EMEA) were down 3%, revenues in the Americas were down 3% (down 4% organic) and revenues in Asia were up 2%.
EBITDA declined 45% primarily due to fourth-quarter charges of $172 million . The margin was 14.6% compared to 25.9% in the prior-year period.
Excluding fourth-quarter charges of $172 million , the EBITDA margin was 24.9%.
Operating profit declined 72% primarily due to fourth-quarter charges of $178 million . The margin was 4.8% compared to 16.9% in the prior-year period.
Excluding fourth-quarter charges of $178 million , operating profit declined 10% with a margin of 15.5%.

Trading

Revenues decreased 5% with growth in Elektron Managed Services more than offset by legacy desktop cancellations in Equities and Fixed Income.
Recoveries revenues were down 4%.

Investors

Revenues increased 1% versus the prior-year period. Enterprise Content revenues increased 8% and Banking & Research grew low single digit but were somewhat offset by a decline in Investment Management revenues and a slight decline in Wealth Management revenues.

Marketplaces

Revenues decreased 2% (down 4% organic). FXall growth of 9% was more than offset by a decline in desktop revenues and a decline in other foreign exchange and fixed income transaction revenue resulting from continued lower market volumes.

Governance, Risk & Compliance

Revenues grew 13% (8% organic) to $69 million from strong sales growth and continued strong demand.

Legal

Revenues increased 2% (down 2% organic). The decline in organic revenues was attributable to declines in US print revenues and in the Latin American business. Excluding US and Latin American print, Legal organic revenues grew 1%.
US Law Firm Solutions revenues grew 1% with a 9% increase in the Business of Law revenues (FindLaw and Elite) offset by a 1% decline in research-related revenues.
Corporate, Government & Academic revenues grew 2%.
Global businesses grew 3% (down 9% organic) driven by strong growth from Practical Law (formerly PLC) offset by a decline in Latin American revenues.
US print revenues declined 5% and in the full-year 2013 represented 16% of total Legal revenues (24% in 2008).
The decline in Latin American-related revenues was due to a slowdown in emerging market growth, the roll-out of a new Order-to-Cash system and the harmonization of commercial policies in the region.
EBITDA declined 17% due to fourth-quarter charges of $37 million as well as the impact of US and Latin America print revenue declines. The margin was 31.3% compared to 38.3% in the prior-year period.
Excluding fourth-quarter charges of $37 million , EBITDA declined 6% with a margin of 35.6%.
Operating profit declined 23% with a margin of 22.9% versus 30.2% in the prior-year period. The decline in the margin reflected the same items that impacted EBITDA margin performance.
Excluding fourth-quarter charges of $37 million , operating profit declined 9% with a margin of 27.2%.

Tax & Accounting

Revenues increased 11% (7% organic) driven by strong growth from the Corporate business, up 17% (8% organic), and the Professional business, up 11%.
EBITDA increased 2% with a margin of 34.5% compared to 36.6% in the prior-year period. The margin decline was primarily due to fourth-quarter charges of $9 million .
Excluding fourth-quarter charges of $9 million , EBITDA increased 10% with a margin of 37.0%.
Operating profit increased 1% and the margin was 26.4% compared to 28.3% in the prior-year period.
Excluding fourth-quarter charges of $9 million , operating profit increased 10% with a margin of 28.8%.
Small movements in the timing of revenues and expenses can impact margins in any given quarter for the Tax & Accounting business. Full-year margins are more reflective of the segment's underlying performance.

Intellectual Property & Science

Revenues increased 11% (9% organic), driven by subscription revenue growth of 8% and transaction revenue growth of 16%. IP Solutions grew 6%, Life Sciences increased 18% and Scientific & Scholarly Research increased 13%.
EBITDA declined 11% primarily due to fourth-quarter charges of $23 million . The margin was 27.3% versus 33.6% in the prior-year period.
Excluding fourth-quarter charges of $23 million , EBITDA increased 17% with a margin of 35.6%.
Operating profit declined 18% primarily due to fourth-quarter charges of $23 million . The margin was 19.6% compared to 26.4% in the prior-year period.
Excluding fourth-quarter charges o...

f $23 million , operating profit increased 17% with a margin of 28.0%.
Small movements in the timing of revenues and expenses can impact margins in any given quarter for the Intellectual Property & Science business. Full-year margins are more reflective of the segment's underlying performance.

Corporate & Other (Including Reuters News)

Reuters News revenues for the full year 2013 were $331 million , up 2% from the prior year. Corporate & Other costs for the full year 2013 were $320 million , including fourth-quarter charges of $28 million , compared to $317 million in 2012.

Fourth-quarter Reuters News revenues were $86 million , unchanged from the prior-year period. Fourth-quarter Corporate & Other costs were $129 million including fourth-quarter charges of $28 million compared to $103 million in the prior-year period.

Business Outlook (Before Currency)

Thomson Reuters today issued its business outlook for 2014. The company expects:

revenues to be comparable to 2013;
adjusted EBITDA margin to range between 26% and 27%;
underlying operating profit margin to range between 17.0% and 18.0%; and
free cash flow to range between $1.3 billion and $1.5 billion in 2014.

In October 2013 , the company stated that it planned to take a charge of approximately $350 million , most of which would be reflected in fourth-quarter 2013 results, with a portion reflected in 2014. The aggregate amount of the charge is now expected to be approximately $395 million , $275 million of which was incurred in 2013. The company's 2014 Outlook includes the impact of $120 million of charges expected to be incurred this year. The free cash flow Outlook for 2014 reflects the estimated impact of the charges incurred in 2013 and 2014 as well as the impact of the loss of free cash flow from disposals (approximately $375 million in aggregate). The information in this section is forward-looking and should be read in conjunction with the section below entitled "Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements, Material Assumptions and Material Risks."

Dividend and Share Repurchases

The board of directors approved a $0.02 per share annualized increase in the dividend to $1.32 per share. A quarterly dividend of $0.33 per share is payable on March 17, 2014 to common shareholders of record as of February 24, 2014 . This dividend increase marks the 21st consecutive annual dividend increase by the company.

In 2013, the company returned approximately $400 million to shareholders through the repurchase of approximately 10.9 million shares. Approximately $300 million of these repurchases in the fourth quarter of 2013 were part of the company's previously announced plans to repurchase up to $1 billion of its shares by the end of 2014.

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