VNU earnings up 11%

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Haarlem, The Netherlands--Despite continued poor performance by its advertising-dependent units, VNU NV reported first-half net earnings of $117 million, up 11% from $106 million in the year-earlier period.

The results were hurt by the strength of the euro versus the dollar, according to Rob van den Bergh, VNU’s chairman-CEO.

At constant currencies, VNU said its net earnings were up 25% in the first half. Revenue for the first half was $2.3 billion, down 10% from $2.5 billion. At constant currencies, VNU said its revenues were actually up 2%. The company’s cash earnings before goodwill charges and extraordinary items were essentially flat in the first half of 2003 at $228 million. At constant currencies, VNU said its cash earnings were up 15% over the first half of last year.

Hit by reduced advertising pages, VNU’s business information unit, which includes Billboard and other b-to-b properties, posted revenue of $395 million, down 21% from $501 million in the same period last year. At constant currencies the unit’s revenue declined 8% for the period.

--Sean Callahan

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