VNU boosts earnings projection

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Haarlem, The Netherlands--Dutch business information giant VNU announced on Tuesday that it expects its cash earnings per share, before goodwill charges and extraordinary items, to grow about 5% this year, compared with 2001. This projection is up from the company’s previous forecast of 3%.

VNU expects the increase despite a projected dip in operating income from its business information group, which includes trade publications and trade shows.

In the second half of this year, the group’s advertising revenues are expected to decline in Europe by about 26% and in the U.S. by about 8%, when compared with the second half of 2001.

Meanwhile, the company’s trade show business, which generates the majority of the group's operating income, is expected to show a slight increase for the full year.

The boost in VNU’s business this year has been due largely to ACNielsen and Nielsen Media Research.

ACNielsen is expected to deliver pro forma organic net revenue growth of about 7% this year. Nielsen Media Research in the U.S. expects organic net revenues to increase by about 9% for the year.

Rob van den Bergh, chairman-CEO of VNU, said in a statement that the expected growth this year shows that VNU’s strategy of focusing on must-have information rather than on products that depend on discretionary advertising spending has been effective.

“VNU’s improved outlook for 2002 provides clear evidence that our business strategy is working, and yielding the improved results we had anticipated,” van den Bergh said.

--Sean Callahan

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