Pearson profits exceed expectations


Book and newspaper publisher Pearson has said that it is confident of reaching its full-year targets, reporting an eight per cent increase in sales in the first-half.

The world's largest publisher of educational materials said that revenue increased to £1.88 billion in the six months to June 30th, up from £1.61 billion a year ago and ahead of analyst expectations.

Adjusted operating profit for the first six months of 2006 was up 57 per cent to £73 million, the London-based company confirmed in a statement.

Pearson said that sales of the Financial Times (FT) newspaper were also up six per cent during the period, with the title's advertising revenue rose 11 per cent. Overall, profits across the FT group were up 23 per cent to £55 million.

Pearson's book publishing businesses Penguin reported a 38 per cent rise in profits to £18 million, based on a two per cent increase in sales.

Pearson, which claims its profits are usually heavily weighted to the second half of the year, said that it had invested £273 million in a series of acquisitions relating to its educational business and the FT group.

The company said that it expected a "further significant rise" in return on invested capital in 2006.

Commenting, Pearson's chief executive, Marjorie Scardino, said: “These results provide further evidence of the quality and potential of our business.

"All parts of Pearson are making strong progress, and our steady investment in new content and services is paying off with sustained organic growth, market share gains and margin improvement.

"We remain confident that 2006 will be another good year for Pearson both in competitive and financial terms," she added.

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