Reuters rises 14% as income tops pounds 1bn

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The Independent Online
STRONG sales of its screen trading systems helped Reuters Holdings, the financial information group, to pass the pounds 1bn revenue mark in the first six months, a rise of 22 per cent compared with the same period last year, writes Gail Counsell.

Pre-tax profits were up 14 per cent to pounds 245m, but earnings per share increased 21 per cent to 10.4p, thanks to the company's profitable decision in September last year to buy back 25 million of its own shares.

The figures, in line with expectations, were fuelled by record levels of demand for new products. Peter Job, chief executive, said this reflected generally favourable business conditions.

'Following the corrections in the bonds and equities markets, we saw lower levels of new orders in May and June, but they were comfortably ahead of last year,' he said.

The company has seen strong growth in Europe and the Americas, but trading in Japan has been lacklustre. Dealing 2002, Reuters' new automated matched bargain service, reached its target of 5,000 trades a day in April, and has been set a new target of 10,000.

The cash-rich company saw its pile shrink slightly as a result of expenditure during the period - chiefly the pounds 102m associated with buying Teknekron Software Systems and Quotron Systems, and capital expenditure of pounds 138m.

These sums were partially offset by the fact that Citicorp, Quotron's vendor, has agreed to provide payments to cover its losses this year and next. However, the company's cash pile shrank from pounds 450m at the last year-end to pounds 428m.

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