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Nielsen Holdings Q4 Profit Tops View, But Revenues Miss; Declares First Dividend

Consumer information and measurement firm Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NLSN) reported Monday a profit for the fourth quarter that more than halved from last year, reflecting significantly higher other expenses and charges. However, adjusted earnings per share topped analysts' expectations, while quarterly revenues missed their estimates by a whisker.

"Nielsen's fourth quarter results showed strong growth in recurring revenue and continued margin expansion," CEO David Calhoun said in a statement.

Netherlands-based Nielsen reported net income of $39 million or $0.11 per share for the fourth quarter, lower than $95 million or $0.26 per share in the prior-year quarter.

Excluding items, adjusted net income for the quarter was $234 million or $0.62 per share, compared to $190 million or $0.51 per share in the year-ago quarter.

On average, 17 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to report earnings of $0.58 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Revenues for the quarter rose 3 percent or 4 percent in constant currency, to $1.46 billion from $1.42 billion in the same quarter last year, but missed sixteen Wall Street analysts' consensus estimate of $1.48 billion by a whisker.

The company attributed its revenue performance to a 3 percent increase within buy segment, and a 5 percent increase within watch segment, partially offset by a 19 percent decline in its expositions segment.

The latest quarter results mainly reflected other expenses totaling $121 million in the quarter.

In addition, the company said its board adopted a cash dividend policy and declared its first quarterly cash dividend of $0.16 per share, payable on March 20 to holders on record as on March 6, 2013.

For fiscal 2012, the company reported net income of $273 million or $0.75 per share, higher than $84 million or $0.24 per share in the prior year. Excluding items, adjusted net income was $704 million or $1.87 per share, compared to $590 million or $1.61 per share in the year ago.

Revenues for the full year rose 1 percent or 4 percent in constant currency, to $5.61 billion from $5.53 billion in the previous year.

Street was looking for full-year 2012 earnings of $1.83 per share on annual revenues of $5.63 billion.

"We remain focused on delivering value to clients, investing to grow our business and expanding our capabilities. We are pleased to deliver enhanced shareholder value as we begin paying a quarterly dividend," Calhoun added.

Meanwhile, Nielsen agreed in mid-December to acquire media and marketing research company Arbitron, Inc. (ARB) for $48 per share in an all-cash deal valued at about $1.3 billion.

NLSN closed Monday's regular trading session at $32.67, down $014 or 0.43% on a volume of 2.67 million shares.

by RTT Staff Writer

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