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S&P parent expects to beat gov't ratings lawsuit

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 12, 2013 at 12:08 pm •  Published: February 12, 2013
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It is not clear why the government charged only S&P, or whether it will file charges against Fitch and Moody's, S&P's two main rivals.

Responding to the charges Tuesday, executives noted that they have successfully defended against 40 other financial crisis-related lawsuits. They said they are open to "discussing reasonable settlements" to end this or any other lawsuit.

S&P declined to say how much the case is costing. Chief Financial Officer Jack Callahan said "it's not an insignificant item in our income statement right now." He said the company understands the cost may increase in 2013. That expectation is reflected in its earnings guidance.

The company introduced 2013 revenue guidance of "high single-digit growth," suggesting that revenue this year could fall between $4.76 billion and $4.85 billion. It expects adjusted earnings per share this year of $3.10 to $3.20.

The McGraw-Hill Cos., based in New York, lost $216 million, or 76 cents per share, in the three months ended Dec. 31. That compares with net income of $214 million, or 73 cents per share, a year earlier.

The loss was driven by a $497 million charge McGraw-Hill took on the pending sale of its education division. McGraw-Hill said in November that it will sell the textbook and e-learning publisher for $2.5 billion in cash and debt. As part of the deal, McGraw-Hill will be renamed McGraw Hill Financial.

The charge, which had been announced previously, was related to inventory, previous investments and goodwill in the textbook publishing group.

Excluding one-time items, the company's adjusted net income was $214 million, or 75 cents per share, compared with $263 million, or 90 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet had expected, on average, adjusted earnings of 69 cents per share.

Revenue from continuing operations rose to $1.23 billion from $1 billion a year earlier. Both figures exclude revenue generated by the education division that is being spun off, a company spokeswoman said. Total revenue in the quarter was $1.68 billion, she said.

Analysts had expected revenue of $1.53 billion. The McGraw-Hill spokeswoman said the estimates were based on total revenue, including the education division. On that basis, revenue in the quarter was 10 percent above Wall Street forecasts.

For 2012, McGraw-Hill earned net income of $437 million on revenue of $4.45 billion.

McGraw-Hill shares rose 12 cents to $44.40 as of 12:15 p.m. Eastern time. They remain near a recent low, having traded between $42.02 and $58.62 over the past 52 weeks.

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Daniel Wagner can be reached at www.twitter.com/wagnerreports .