Thomson Reuters cuts sales outlook as narrowly misses earnings

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – Thomson Reuters reported higher quarterly sales and operating profit that fell slightly short of Wall Street estimates on Tuesday, while cutting its full-year sales outlook due to disruption to the global economy from the coronavirus pandemic.

FILE PHOTO: The Thomson Reuters logo is seen on the company building in Times Square, New York October 29, 2013. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

The company, controlled by Canada’s Thomson family, said it was targeting a $100 million cost reduction program and noted it has no debt due until 2023. It said it has enough liquidity for the next 12 months and does not expect to change its dividend.

The news and information provider, parent of Reuters News, reported a 2% rise in first quarter revenue to $1.52 billion, helped by gains in its legal and corporates businesses, and said operating profit rose 6% to $290 million.

Adjusted earnings of 48 cents a share were 1 cent below Wall Street expectations, according to Refinitiv.

Thomson Reuters (TRI.N)(TRI.TO) forecast 1%-2% total revenue growth this year, below its February estimate of 4.5%-5.5%.

“As we generate most of our revenues from selling information and software solutions electronically and on a subscription basis, our businesses have historically been resilient over time, but they are not immune to the recent downturn in the global economy,” Chief Executive Steve Hasker said in statement.

The coronavirus pandemic has brought major economies to a halt, pushed millions into unemployment as businesses shutter, and emptied trading floors around the world as companies scramble to slow its spread among their workers.

Many of Thomson Reuters’ own 24,000 employees have been working remotely during the outbreak.

Reuters News revenues were flat at $155 million, while organic revenues fell 4% due to COVID-19 related cancellations of events in the Reuters Events business, the company said.

Thomson Reuters, whose executives have said that they were aiming to cut discretionary expenses, also said it expected the sale of its 45% stake in data company Refinitiv to close in the second half of the year.

The London Stock Exchange Group (LSE.L) said last month it was committed to completing its $27 billion takeover of Refinitiv in the second half of 2020, with no plans to revise its savings targets as a deep recession looms.

Thomson Reuters in February appointed former Nielsen Holdings Plc (NLSN.N) president Hasker as its new CEO, succeeding Jim Smith.

Smith, a former journalist who oversaw a period of major change at the company, will stay on for a transition period and become chairman of the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Writing by Nick Zieminski in New York; Editing by Jason Neely and Alexander Smith

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