News giant Reuters has unveiled its first quarter of underlying growth since 2001 - and revealed plans to buy back £1 billion of its own shares over the next two years.
But the group has also said more jobs could face the axe to save around £150 million.
Staff numbers have fallen by about 3,000 to 15,000 since 2001, and the group said yesterday it may cut up to 500 posts in the next three to five years.
It plans to reduce the number of data processing centres it has around the world and to rationalise its product development operations.
Reuters has UK bases in London and Nottingham, but it is not believed the cuts will affect them. The latest cuts are expected to generate an extra £150 million of costs savings by 2010, taking the total since 2001 to more than £1 billion.
A spokesman described the potential job cuts as being in the "low hundreds" and below 500.
However, the group said its recurring revenues - the best gauge of demand for its news terminals - rose 0.4 per cent to £547 million in the three months to the end of June. That was the first period of growth since the third quarter of 2001.
Chief executive Tom Glocer said: "It is a huge step forward for Reuters to see our most closely watched revenue measure underlying recurring revenue back in positive territory in the second quarter."
Reuters' underlying business should continue to improve over the rest of the year, and Mr Glocer said he expected underlying recurring revenue growth of one and two per cent in the second half.
Alongside yesterday's interim results, Mr Glocer unveiled the company's strategy to run after the current 'Fast Forward' cost-cutting plan, which ends next year.
Under the new plan, Reuters will invest £15 million in the second half of this year and a further £50 million next year to drive growth for the news and data in what Mr Glocer called "Core Plus" markets.
The new strategic initiatives should guarantee an extra three percentage points of growth beyond Reuters' core revenue growth, which should be in line with the market.
It will create new analytical products that can supplement the spot news it delivers to subscribers.
To compensate investors for the raised investment in growth, Reuters said it would return £1 billion to investors over the next two years through a repurchase of its own shares.
The buyback, which was in line with forecasts, will be funded primarily through the $1 billion sale of its controlling stake in US electronic brokerage Instinet.
Reuters intends to cut costs by a further £150 million a year by 2010 after raising its target for the 'Fast Forward' plan. It expects annualised cost savings of £360 million from £ 340 million and remains "on track" to deliver savings of £440 million by the end of 2006.
In the six months to the end of June, Reuters reported sales of £1.139 million, down from £1.166 billion in the year before. Operating profits rose to £ 110 million, from £95 million, while pretax profits declined to £ 119 million, from £300 million last time. Shares closed down 301/2p at 3813/4p.