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As U.S. stalls, Thomson Reuters focuses abroad

Thomson Reuters Corp. is facing a "significant reduction" in U.S. business after several Wall Street financial institutions collapsed last year, but its chief financial officer says the conglomerate is making up for it by focusing on clients abroad.

"We have seen a significant reduction and lost business as a result of Bear Sterns and cutbacks in other areas, but many of our large accounts continue to hold up fairly well," CFO Robert Daleo said during a Citibank media and telecommunications conference in Phoenix, Ariz., on Thursday.

The decline or collapse of several major U.S. investment banks, insurance companies and mortgage lenders, has left a devastating impact on many companies associated with Wall Street.

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Mr. Daleo said Thomson Reuters Top 25 accounts - also known as focus group accounts - represent about 13 per cent of revenues. However, he said that an internal shift in perspective has helped soften the financial impact of some of the firms closing their doors.

Thomson Reuters was formed early last year after the acquisition of London-based Reuters PLC by Thomson Corp. of Toronto, which is a major international provider of profession information tools to the financial, legal and scientific industries.

Reuters brought with it a global general news service as well as business-oriented information services delivered directly to clients in the financial industry.

"We have seen, all year long, declines in sales to the focus group accounts, but we have been able to offset those with good performance in these other areas," he said.

"We have continued through the first nine months to see strong performance in places like the Middle East, Asia, and certain segments of Europe."

He added that the company continues to see "good performance across a broad range of our businesses, both in financial services and professional."

However, Mr. Daleo declined to discuss his outlook for the new year, or fourth-quarter and full-year 2008 results, which are scheduled to be reported on Feb. 24.

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