Thomson Reuters to cut 2,500 jobs in finance unit

NEW YORK (AFP) - Global media and financial information group Thomson Reuters said on Wednesday it would cut 2,500 jobs in its risk division by the end of the year as part of a cost-cutting drive.

Chief executive James Smith announced the cuts as he released the company's quarterly and annual financial results, saying the move "positions us for far greater improvement in 2014."

Mr Smith said 2012 "was a watershed year despite an economic environment that proved to be even more challenging than we had anticipated" and cited "numerous operational issues needing repair."

In the company's large financial unit, Smith said, now has "far more rigor, transparency and discipline." He said the unit known as "Finance and Risk" will trim 2,500 jobs by the end of 2013 as part of a drive to boost profits.

The move will slash around 11 per cent of the finance unit's 22,500 employees and four per cent of the company's 60,000 workforce. Reuters said some of the cuts are related to mergers and divestures which make positions redundant.

Thomson Reuters reported its profit for the fourth quarter was US$372 million (S$460.1 million), compared with a loss in the same period a year earlier of US$2.6 billion due to a large writedown on its financial services business.

Thomson Reuters, which is incorporated in Canada and has its headquarters in New York, said its full-year 2012 profit rose to US$2.1 billion from US$1.4 billion the prior year.

The adjusted profit per share amounted to 60 cents a share in the past quarter, slightly better than expected on Wall Street.

Revenues fell five per cent to US$3.4 billion over the quarter and were down four per cent for the year at US$13.3 billion.

Mr Smith said 2012 "will best be known as the year we turned the tide in our financial and risk business. I said last year that our journey would entail a multi-quarter turnaround; we are halfway through that process."

Thomson Reuters was created in 2008 with Canadian media giant Thomson Corp's takeover of British-based Reuters. It operates a number of financial and legal information services as well as the Reuters news agency.

The media operations represented just a small portion of the company with 2012 revenues at US$331 million, from US$336 million in 2011.

The largest segment, under Finance and Risk, accounted for US$7.2 billion in revenues, a drop of one per cent over the past year. This includes investors and trading information on equities, commodities and other financial products.

Legal services accounted for revenues of US$3.3 billion and tax and accounting for US$1.2 billion.

Shares in Thomson Reuters dipped 2.2 per cent to end at US$29.97.