Netherlands-headquartered publisher and market research group VNU yesterday posted a 27% jump in full-year net earnings to 407 million euros ($370m), excluding goodwill and extraordinary items.

The company, which recently purchased market research giant AC Nielsen for $2.3bn [WAMN: 27-Feb-01], also announced net revenues of 3.38 billion euros (up 20%); net profits of 799m euros, a threefold jump on 1999; and a slight fall in pre-tax profits from 417m euros to 402m euros. The latter was in part the result of investment in online activities, which incurred operating losses of 63m euros on revenues of 47m euros.

Meanwhile, VNU’s business information unit, whose 240 titles include Adweek and Computing, saw revenues soar from 645m euros in 1999 to 911m euros following several acquisitions including Miller Freeman USA in July [WAMN: 17-Jul-00].

For the year ahead, VNU warned that the downturn in advertising would have an effect on the business information division. “Initial signs of weakening economic growth in the United States and Europe became noticeable during the last quarter of 2000. Early 2001 also showed a weak beginning of this group as a result of declining advertising volume,” the company warned.

Meanwhile, economic turbulence will result in “low double-digit growth” in earnings per share, according to chief executive Rob van den Bergh. In contrast, 2000 saw earnings per share for the whole group rise 8% to 1.78 euros.

News source: Financial Times