Pearson on track to hit full year estimates

Financial Times owner Pearson said it was sticking with its full year outlook of growth in sales and operating profits despite tough conditions.

Financial Times owner Pearson said it was sticking with its full year outlook of growth in sales and operating profits despite tough conditions.

The company said that sales were up 5% and operating profit down 5% in the first nine months of the year.

Sales were driven by good growth at International Education and the FT Group and a 'resilient' performance in North American Education.

The drop in operating profits reflected the sale of FTSE in 2011, acquisition integration costs and continued weakness in UK professional training, the firm said.

At Penguin, which the firm is merging with Random House, sales were down 1% compared to 2011, however the third quarter saw ebook revenue rise 35% on 2011.

Its Professional Education division struggled, with the take-up of new training programmes being slower-than-expected.

As a result, the company expects full-year profits in Professional Education to be significantly lower than in 2011.

The highlight was International Education, where sales were up 13% after nine months.

Pearson said its digital and services businesses continued to grow, with sustained momentum in English language schools in China, school services in India, higher education in South Africa and school learning systems in Brazil.

However, textbook publishing remained generally weak, particularly in markets where purchases are publicly-funded.

"We have confidently reiterated our guidance because many of our businesses are going strong in this complicated trading environment," said Chief Executive Marjorie Scardino.

"But the dynamics of the markets we're in could make that achievement more about resilience than flamboyance.

"As always, all the people in Pearson have their shoulders to the wheels that turn in our important fourth quarter," she said.

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