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Thomson Reuters swings to loss, but sees progress

The Thomson Reuters building is viewed on February 10, 2011 in New York
The Thomson Reuters building is viewed on February 10, 2011 in New York

US media and financial information giant Thomson Reuters said Wednesday it swung to a loss in the fourth quarter as it cited "headwinds" in its restructuring drive.

The New York-based company reported a loss of $351 million in the fourth quarter, compared with a profit of $352 million a year earlier.

For the full year, profits sank 93 percent to $137, following one-time gains from spinoffs in 2012.

The company has absorbed a number of one-time charges in the past year, as it announced 2,500 job cuts last February and another 3,000 reductions in October.

Most of the cuts affected its financial information unit which provides terminals for market professionals.

The company, which also operates the Reuters news agency, said in October that five percent of the editorial staff would be cut, among the latest layoffs in the troubled media sector.

Chief executive James Smith said in the earnings release Wednesday that the company was making progress on its restructuring goals.

"I am pleased that we were able to deliver on our full-year expectations, despite a tougher than expected external environment in the fourth quarter," he said.

"More importantly, we took significant strides to position the company to thrive in future years. Our transformation initiatives are taking hold, costs are coming out and innovation is coming forth."

He added, "While the external headwinds were stronger than anticipated at year-end, particularly in Europe and the emerging markets, I am pleased with the progress we continued to make inside the company and with our customers. I am confident this progress will accelerate in 2014."

Revenues for the year fell three percent to $12.7 billion, but on a constant currency basis were up two percent.

The Reuters news agency unit revenues for the year were stabled at $331 million.