x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Business in the Gulf 'is very good'

The media in the Middle East is looking brighter than in many other parts of the world, says Thompson Reuters chief executive tom Glocer.

q How is the fourth quarter looking so far? Are you confident that the upwards trend you noted in the third quarter will continue? a The trend of improvement has basically continued. That's what October and November showed. Our healthcare and science business and our tax and accounting business have all been growing beautifully all year, up 8 per cent each. Our financial infrastructure business, which includes things like risk management systems and pricing systems for banks to price securities, those have all grown. What's been down, and down hard, in the first half were terminals in front of human beings who disappeared from their jobs in London and New York. Our media business has being going backwards, as some folks have just disappeared again. That's the traditional Reuters news agency, which is now a total of something like 2 per cent of our overall revenues.

How are things looking in the Gulf? @Body-Answer2 :The business in the Gulf is very good. The growth is down from 25 per cent to a little under 10 per cent, but when we compare that to the rest of the world, it's really good. For us the Gulf is a bigger opportunity than Brazil and is on par with what we are doing in India and China. And for the company as a whole for the year? @Body-Answer2 :The first and second quarters were flat, but positive. The third quarter was down in markets, between 1 and 2 percentage points.

The guidance that we set in February, and which is still on track, was that the company as a whole would still see positive growth for this year, despite all the swings and roundabouts, as the English say, and that profits and cash flow would be the same as last year, which was a very good year for us. We feel that's very good, given that this is a year where clients like Lehman [Brothers] and Bear Stearns have disappeared, where GE [General Electric] is selling NBC Universal and the [New York] Times keeps firing 100 journalists at a time on its way to it's not exactly clear where.

Your rival, Bloomberg, has begun expanding into the consumer market recently with the acquisition of Business Week, while you have been acquiring things such as the business analysis service Breakingviews. It seems like the media sector is increasingly dominated by you two. Do you expect this trend of consolidation to continue? @Body-Answer2 :I think we are seeing a shift. I don't think it's a coincidence that the only two news organisations that I know that are growing are Reuters News, under the Thomson Reuters umbrella, and Bloomberg News, which is expanding.

Our strategy is not to go thin and wide, but to recognise the professional grade of our content as it has always been in finance and supplying professional media. We're going to develop very focused professional services. For example, if you are a patent lawyer in Abu Dhabi, one day, you might read IP Lawyer in the Gulf. @Email:khagey@thenational.ae