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Pearson maintains outlook
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10:37, July 28, 2009

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LONDON: British publishing group Pearson is trading ahead of its expectations, allowing it to stick to its full-year outlook of at least matching 2008's adjusted earnings per share, in spite of adverse currency effects.

Pearson reported flat underlying sales for the first half yesterday, as an improvement at its educational-publications business - the world's largest - offset declines at the FT Group, and consumer-book division Penguin.

"Over the past six years, Pearson has delivered substantial growth; this year is about proving our resilience and competitive edge," Chief Executive Marjorie Scardino said in a statement. "So far, we've passed the test."

Pearson said the impact of US economic stimulus measures on its North American education business remained unclear, but it expected to continue outperforming a declining US school publishing market.

Pearson's confinement of its advertising exposure to the FT Group, and strong educational business with market-leading testing and digital products, have made it a favorite defensive stock through the early part of the recession.

Subscription revenues, however, which come from a largely non-consumer customer base and feel the pressure later in the economic cycle, could now start to weaken.

US competitor McGraw-Hill - which reports results later this week - has slashed jobs in its education, financial services and information and media business as it struggles with lower demand for textbooks and credit-rating data.

Pearson, which makes the vast majority of its revenues and profits in the second half, when schools and colleges begin their year, reported first-half sales of 2.4 billion pounds ($4 billion), beating a Reuters consensus of 2.28 billion pounds.

Underlying adjusted operating profit rose 21 percent to 158 million pounds and adjusted earnings per share rose 41 percent in headline terms to 7.9 pence. Pearson raised its interim dividend 3.4 percent to 12.2 pence.

Source:China Daily/Agencies



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