Thomson Reuters Corp. TRI-T is laying the groundwork for more rapid increases in revenue starting in 2025, its chief executive officer says, as it begins a year of investment in artificial intelligence and work to merge companies it has recently acquired into its existing business.
The Toronto-based information and software provider released new targets for investors on Thursday, predicting that its revenue will rise by about 6.5 per cent this year, which is comparable to its rate of growth last year. In 2025 and 2026, the company forecasts that revenue could increase by 6.5 to 8 per cent annually, signalling a faster pace of growth that investors have been anticipating.
There are two factors that Thomson Reuters expects will boost revenue in the years to come, CEO Steve Hasker said in an interview.
One is its investment in artificial intelligence (AI) technology, which is being integrated into the software subscriptions Thomson Reuters sells to law firms and general counsels. It has launched an AI-assisted research tool and Mr. Hasker said uptake by clients has been strong, with sales expected to pick up starting later this year and next year as subscription products renew.
“Our customers are very rigorous in their evaluation of our products,” Mr. Hasker said. “The feedback we’re getting is that … it is extremely accurate, so it does not hallucinate. It produces results that are eminently reliable.”
Thomson Reuters also said it has struck licensing agreements with companies that are building generative AI tools. The companies pay for access to the Reuters News archive as a way to train their large language models. Most of the revenue from those agreements comes from one-time payments to use the archive, with smaller payments to obtain updated access to new content.
Reuters News revenue was up 10 per cent to US$220-million in the quarter, driven by the licensing revenue.
The second factor is a US$2-billion string of acquisitions Thomson Reuters has made, most recently picking up a majority stake in the e-invoicing company Pagero Group AB. Early last year, Thomson Reuters closed a US$500-million deal to buy SurePrep, LLC, a California-based tax software company. And in August, it bought Casetext, Inc., a technology provider for legal professionals, for US$650-million.
Thomson Reuters now has to combine new skills and products from those companies with its own to attract new revenue. In recent years, the company invested in building a team “that has a very significant amount of capacity for integration” of acquired companies, Mr. Hasker said.
For the fourth quarter of 2023, Thomson Reuters reported profit of US$678-million, or US$1.49 a share, compared with US$218-million, or 45 US cents a share, in the same quarter in 2022. The results last year were boosted in part by an increase in the value of the stake Thomson Reuters owns in the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG).
Adjusted to exclude some items, Thomson Reuters said it earned 98 US cents a share, which was higher than the 90 US cents a share analysts expected, according to LSEG data.
The company raised its annualized dividend by 10 per cent, or 20 US cents a share, to US$2.16, boosting its quarterly dividend to 54 US cents from 49 US cents.
Woodbridge Co. Ltd., the Thomson family holding company and controlling shareholder of Thomson Reuters, also owns The Globe and Mail.
Thomson Reuters’ fourth-quarter revenue rose 3 per cent to US$1.82-billion, but after excluding the impact from lost revenue after the company sold parts of its business, revenue was up 7 per cent.