Thomson Reuters latches on to $19B market from RP

FINANCIAL information provider Thomson Reuters Corp. is latching on to a market that its executives estimate to be worth $19 billion, using one of its offices in the Philippines as a launch pad.

This was according to Vin Caraher, president of the group’s United States Core Legal business segment, who added that the amount excludes the content and the technology in this market.

Caraher claims that the other player in that market, Reed Elsevier Inc.’s LexisNexis, is half the size of his company’s share, especially with the formal opening Thursday of the division’s Philippine office.

The company, which was formed when Thomson Corp. acquired Reuters Group Plc two years ago, currently has 275 full time employees in its two-floor office in Taguig City.

Caraher said they plan to enlist an additional 30 local employees on May 24.

The office began operating in June last year but Caraher declined to cite how much the company spent for its construction and lease.

“It’s proprietary information we can’t divulged.” The company will report its first quarter performance next month.

According to the company’s 2009 annual report, its legal segment under the Professional Division “provides information, decision support tools and services to legal, intellectual property, compliance, business and government professionals throughout the world.”

Thomson Reuters’s John Elstad explained that the legal division, which contributed US$3.6-billion in revenue last year, acquires information like statutes from the courts and other agencies in the US.

Elstad, senior vice-president of Legal-editorial operations, told reporters that these are mainly primary law content, or information generated by government entities like administrative ruling.

He added the data are processed, codified, proofread, analyzed and validated by Filipino employees and packaged as product for the customers as print, digital, or online format.

Raoul Teh, Philippines’s senior site officer, said they received a recommendation that Thomson Reuters look into doing such process for the country’s legal system.

“It’s an interesting suggestion.”

But Caraher said despite the job area is focused on the US legal system, “it’s not legal outsourcing.”

“We’re hiring and training them as our employees.”

However, he said there are 34 customer contact service staff of the total 375 employees who promote the product after 10 p.m.

Elstad added that they just don’t gather data but analyze and “add value to it.”

Global content operations-Manila site officer Roel Roque told BusinessMirror the company will still maintain its office in Ayala, Makati City, while some of their 1,600 employees will transfer to Taguig.

Thomson Reuters’s Philippine office was initially established as a regional headquarters in 2007 as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Thomson Reuters Finance S.A., a company organized in Luxembourg whose ultimate parent company is the Thomson Reuters Corp.

The Thomson Corp Pte Ltd (Philippines) RHQ is registered with the Board of Investments and, hence, entitled to certain incentives, including a preferential rate of 10% on taxable income; exemption on the payment of all kinds of local taxes, fees or charges; and, tax and duty free importation of training materials and equipment.

It started commercial operations on January 1, 2008, its report to the SEC said.

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