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Expect revenue growth in 2nd half, Tom Glocer tells shareholders

Thomson Reuters has weathered the economic storm and expects to return to revenue growth in the second half of this year, CEO Tom Glocer said on Friday.

He told shareholders at the group’s annual general meeting in Toronto that Thomson Reuters stood to gain from this year's new products, including software for the financial services industry, tax professionals and lawyers, as well as Reuters Insider, a new Web-based business news television service launched this week.

"While many companies had to slash their R&D budgets just to be able to survive the recession, we had the financial strength and determination to keep investing in product development," Glocer said. "...These investments are now beginning to bear fruit and it's very exciting. I strongly believe that the combination of improving market conditions that we see now, new flagship offerings and scalable infrastructure, positions our company very well to grow and deliver shareholder value in 2011 and beyond," he added.

In comments after the meeting Glocer said the company was still looking at acquisitions, although he did not predict any deals with more than a $1 billion price tag. “Our history has been to make a number of small to medium-size fold-in acquisitions, and that’ll be true this year as well ... There’s more in the pipeline,” Glocer said.

Shareholders voted in favour of a plan to freeze base salaries for Glocer and four other key executives this year, in a so-called “say on pay” resolution. Glocer’s $1.55 million base salary was a small fraction of his total 2009 compensation of $36.6 million, which included performance pay. The company said the results of the vote would be released next week. At last year’s AGM, 17.7 per cent voted against top executives' pay packages. About 53 per cent of the company's stock is owned by Canada’s Thomson family.

Asked about an ongoing labour dispute with 420 journalists in New York, Glocer said contract negotiations begun in October 2008 with The Newspaper Guild of New York had reached an impasse. The union has accused the company of trying to impose an illegal pay cut on its members. The company disputes this. Glocer said he was still hopeful the two sides could reach a negotiated settlement but added "we have to be tough on costs".

“We are in a very delicate place right now,” Glocer said in response to a question by Lise Lareau of the Canadian Media Guild. “ ... I’m comfortable that legally and ethically the company has acted properly.” ■

The Canadian Press