By Jessica Toonkel
Nov 1 (Reuters) – Thomson Reuters Corp on Wednesday reported revenue below investor expectations as financial services clients in Europe and Britain held off on signing deals due to regulatory and political uncertainty.
“We aren’t satisfied with our top-line growth and we are addressing these issues by controlling everything that is within our control,” CEO Jim Smith told analysts on an earnings call.
Although earnings-per-share beat estimates in part due to cost controls, the revenue miss pushed shares down 6.5 percent to $43.81 on the New York Stock Exchange; they were at C$56.59 in Toronto.
The results highlight the need for Thomson Reuters to find ways to generate revenue outside of managing costs, said Doug Arthur, an analyst at Huber Research Partners.
“People understand the company is doing a great job on costs,” Arthur said. “But there has been a lot of anticipation that revenues are going to hit an inflection point, and it’s just not happening.”
In its Financial & Risk segment, the company’s biggest, sales outpaced cancellations, a key indicator of future growth. Overall revenue for the unit was up slightly, but was down one percent in Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Specifically, British and European financial services clients are concerned about upcoming EU securities rules, set to take effect in January, as well as Brexit, Smith said.
“The quarter was the tale of two cities, or more like the tale of two continents,” as the company saw unexpected softness in the UK and Europe and strength in the Americas,” Smith told Reuters. “We heard from the market, that was largely because of upcoming regulatory changes.”
Thomson Reuters still expects year-over-year growth in its financial business in 2017 and 2018, but the extent of the improvement will depend on fourth-quarter net sales, executives said on the call.
The company sees a stronger pipeline of deals for its Financial & Risk unit, Smith said.
The news and information company said full-year profits will be at the high end of its earlier forecast.
Third-quarter net earnings rose to $348 million, or 46 cents per share, from $286 million, or 36 cents per share, a year ago.
Adjusted for special items, earnings were 68 cents per share.
Total revenue grew 1 percent excluding currency to $2.79 billion. Sales in its legal business rose 1 percent to $843 million.
Analysts on average, were looking for profit of 58 cents per share, and revenue of $2.82 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S/.
Thomson Reuters, parent of Reuters News, competes for financial customers with Bloomberg LP, as well as News Corp’s Dow Jones unit. (Reporting By Jessica Toonkel; Editing by Nick Zieminski)