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VNU cuts earnings forecasts

LONDON - VNU, the Dutch publisher and market research giant, has warned that full-year earnings growth could fall well below its revised target of 5%.

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The company said growth of earnings per share before goodwill amortisation and one-off items would be between 0% and 5%, as business conditions deteriorated after the terrorist attacks on September 11.

VNU initially predicted earnings growth of 10% in March. It cut this forecast in August to 5%.

VNU said advertising page volumes at its business information group are falling sharply, while its US trade show business is also being hurt. Ad volumes at its European trade magazines such as Computing have also fallen.

VNU shares fell 9% this morning in Amsterdam to €24.72 (£15.35).

Earlier this year, the company spent £1.5bn buying market research giant ACNielsen , which contributed to an 18% fall in profits at its half-year results last month.

The company announced plans to shed 50 staff at its London publishing and internet operations offices earlier this week, in an attempt to streamline its operations in the face of current market conditions.

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