Pearson nine-month trading update: Sales up 10% and operating profit up 20%

Pearson is today providing investors and analysts with a trading update.  All growth rates are for the first nine months of the year and are stated on an underlying basis, excluding the impact of currency movements and portfolio changes.

Pearson continues to trade strongly, in line with our expectations, and we are on track to achieve significant growth in earnings, cash and return on invested capital for the full year.  All our businesses are making good progress, although our key selling season in higher education and consumer publishing is still ahead of us.

Highlights for first nine months of 2005

  • Pearson sales up 10% and operating profit up 20%;
  • Pearson Education sales up 13% with good growth in all parts:
    School up 17%, helped by strong performance in US publishing market and start-up of major new testing programmes concentrated in the early part of the year;
    Higher Education up 5% with leadership in publishing, online learning and custom programmes producing good growth in the US;
    Professional up 17%, benefiting from phasing of new contracts in testing and government solutions.  We now expect full-year sales growth in double digits, with operating margins similar to 2004.
  • FT Group sales up 5%, with Financial Times advertising revenues up 6% and the newspaper on track to be around break even for the full year.  IDC reported sales up 13% and net income up 17% (under US GAAP);
  • Penguin sales up 2%, with good publishing in US, UK and Australia combating weak retail conditions, particularly in the UK.  With the 2005 publishing schedule weighted more towards the first half, the rate of growth has, as expected, slowed through the year.

Marjorie Scardino, chief executive, said:

"2005 is turning out to be the strong year we predicted, boosted by our steady investment in products and services and continued gains in operating efficiency.  Penguin and the FT Group are making solid progress while our education business powers ahead.  We are concentrating on trading well through our all-important fourth quarter, and our momentum makes us confident."

For more information:

Luke Swanson  + 44 (0) 207 010 2310