Pearson sees profit ahead of expectations

Pearson Group, the owner of the Financial Times, says it will report full year figures ahead of analyst expectations. It adds its results, which are due to be published in March, have been buoyed by FT subscriptions and the strong dollar.

In a trading update, the group, which also owns Penguin books, says it expects to report a 20% growth in profits. The statement, released this morning (January 19) says FT Publishing saw “good sales” and growth despite the slowdown in the advertising marketing over the fourth quarter of 2008.

Penguin also performed well despite slower than usual Christmas sales across the books market, while its education division also finished ahead of expectations thanks to the strength of US higher education and international education.

Marjorie Scardino, Pearson chief executive, says: “We are naturally cautious about the economic environment, but we take confidence from our performance in 2008. It provides evidence that our strategy for long-term, sustainable growth is working. Some of our markets will be tough this year and we are managing the company accordingly.

“But that strategy, our record of investment and our resilience will enable us to take full advantage of the opportunities this environment gives us to build our business and gain share.”

The statement adds that the company is expected to “prove durable” thanks to the breadth of its education business, Penguin’s “consistent” publishing performance and the FT Group’s shift towards subscription and content revenues.

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