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Thomson Reuters' CEO Discusses Q4 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

2011 revenue grew by 5%, with particularly strong performance from our Professional businesses, Legal, Tax & Accounting, IP & Science. The Markets business grew 2% despite market headwinds and internal execution issues. EBITDA and operating profit margins were up nicely despite a $50 million charge in the fourth quarter, primarily related to the reorganization of the Markets business. Excluding that charge, the EBITDA margin was up over 300 basis points and operating margin was up nearly 100 basis points.

I'm sure you will be pleased to hear, as I am to announce, that we have completed the Reuters integration program, having achieved aggregate savings of $1.7 billion. This is the last time you will hear us utter the word integration.

Reported free cash flow was up slightly, but was impacted by a negative swing in working capital and the disposal of several cash-generative businesses last year. Free cash flow from ongoing businesses was up 7% for the year. Stephane will provide you with more detail during his presentation. Finally, adjusted earnings per share for the year were $1.98 or $2.03 before the reorganization charge I previously mentioned. Both figures exclude the impairment charge.

Professional's full year revenues rose 9%, driven by solid growth across each business: Legal was up 8%; Tax & Accounting was up 14%; and IP & Science was up 7%, a terrific performance. The strong growth is reflective of the investments we've been making in these businesses over the past 4 years with innovative products like WestlawNext and ONESOURCE. This organic growth has been supplemented with investments in fast-growing geography such as Latin America and in fast-growing adjacencies like tax management services for governments.

For the former Markets division businesses, now Financial & Risk, revenues increased 2%, finishing the year below what we had originally expected. Last year's poorly executed sales reorganization into the face of a challenging market environment resulted in a negative net sales for the second half of 2011. That, of course, creates a spillover effect into 2012. Still, significant parts of the Financial & Risk business are performing well and provide a solid foundation. We have a new, energetic, and engaged management team. We have a refined and more focused strategy and we have a whole new environment of rigorous operating management, transparency, accountability, and execution. We like our position. We have the best content, broad, deep, and truly global. We have a full range of solutions from desktop to enterprise at multiple price points and value propositions. We have a model that works with clients' internal data, their systems, and their third-party partners to build platforms upon which they can innovate. We have the best information architecture to tie it all together, and we are, far and away, the leader in regulatory compliance, perhaps the most significant factor driving change in financial services today. I'm confident that David Craig and his team are the right combination of ambition, urgency, and pragmatism to get the job done.

Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com

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