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VNU on track to meet reduced forecasts

LONDON - Publishing and market research firm VNU said it is on track to meet its reduced full-year forecasts after a strong performance from its research division, which includes the US-based ACNielsen.

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VNU said its marketing and media operations, which account for 65% of the company's sales, developed "favourably". However, its business publishing division, which generates 25% of sales, continued to suffer from the global downturn in advertising.

The company is predicting a 2001 cash earnings per share fall of between 0% and 5% compared with last year, as stated in the company's second profit warning of the year in early October.

The company also said in October that it expects advertising sales to drop by 25% in the second half.

VNU also announced that chairman and chief executive Rob Van den Bergh will relocate to the US in mid 2002 to oversee the further integration of ACNielsen, which the company bought in February for £1.6bn.

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