02/11/2015 12:59 EST | Updated 04/13/2015 05:59 EDT

Thomson Reuters CEO says multi-year turnaround nearly complete, growth ahead

NEW YORK, N.Y. - The head of Thomson Reuters (TSX:TRI) says a turnaround of its global professional information business is nearing completion and he expects growth will return this year and accelerate in 2016.

"I believe 2015 will mark the first year of organic growth since I took over as CEO (in January 2012) and we're making this prediction in spite of the negative impact of commercial adjustments we need to make this year," Thomson Reuters chief executive Jim Smith said Wednesday in a conference call with analysts.

Smith said Thomson Reuters expects it will take another year to fully complete a turnaround of its Financial and Risk division, which competes with Bloomberg in the delivery of specialized information and terminals for institutional investors and investment firms. The division typically accounts for about half of the company's overall revenue.

The chief executive made the comments after Thomson Reuters announced revenue fell slightly in the 12-months and fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with a year earlier.

Annual revenue totalled US$12.6 billion for 2014, down one per cent from $12.7 billion in 2014. For the fourth quarter of 2014, revenue was $3.211 billion, down $67 million or two per cent from a year earlier.

The Financial and Risk division's revenue in 2014 as a whole was US$6.538 billion and $1.597 billion in the fourth quarter. Other major revenue drivers are divisions serving the legal, tax and accounting, and scientific communities.

Full-year adjusted earnings per share was US$1.85, up from $1.54 in 2013, while fourth-quarter adjusted earnings per share were 43 cents US, up from 21 cents US in comparable period of 2013. Thomson Reuters said foreign currency fluctuations had shaved two cents from its adjusted earnings per share for both the 2014 full year and fourth-quarter profit.