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Extraordinary item holds down VNU profits

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Haarlem, Netherlands--Dutch media and information services giant VNU posted net earnings of about $116 million in the first half of the year, an increase of about 1% over the same period last year. VNU said the unexpectedly small increase was because of an extraordinary item--a January 1998 loss from its ``World Directories'' wasn't recorded in 1998 because VNU didn't yet own the publications (they were acquired in February of last year). Without the extraordinary item, VNU's profits would have shown an 18% increase. VNU's revenue for the first six months of this year increased 10% to about $1.3 billion.
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