VNU expects earnings growth to be at high end of previous guidance

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Haarlem, The Netherlands--VNU announced Tuesday that it expects 2003 growth in cash earnings per share before goodwill amortization, impairment charges and extraordinary items (at constant currencies) to be at the high end of the previous guidance of 6% to 9%.

However, due to the weak U.S. dollar, restructuring charges, and a loss on the sale of Claritas Europe, VNU said it expects reported cash earnings per share to fall 18% to 21%.

In its business information division, which includes VNU Business Media in the U.S., operating income for 2003 will be essentially flat compared with 2002. Revenue for this group will be at approximately the same level as in 2002.

VNU said 2003 advertising revenue for its trade publications will decline about 9% in the U.S. and 18% in Europe compared with 2002.

Rob van den Bergh, chairman-CEO of VNU, said in a statement, “VNU has performed well this year in the face of difficult economic conditions, providing further evidence that our strategy to rebuild the company’s portfolio around more recession-resilient information businesses was the correct one.”

--Sean Callahan

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