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Pearson encouraged by stabilising sales as digital shift accelerates

Underlying revenues for the first half of the year were up 2% to £1.8bn, with adjusted operating profits growing 30% to £144mln

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The educational publisher is on track to launch a suite of new digital products over the coming months

Pearson PLC (LON:PSON) has upgraded full-year guidance for adjusted earnings per share as the educational publisher said it was starting to benefit from accelerating its shift to digital.

Underlying revenues for the first half of the year were up 2% to £1.8bn, with the dominant North American business up 1%, the Core assessment arm 6% and the Growth segment up 2%.

With the simplification strategy producing incremental cost savings of £60mln in the first half, adjusted operating profits grew 30% to £144mln, although the vast majority of profits are weighted to the second half of the year.

READ: Pearson stops the presses with shift to “digital first” strategy

Chief executive John Fallon said: “We've had a good first half, with underlying growth across all divisions, as we start to benefit from accelerating our shift to digital.”

The FTSE 100 group is on track to launch its ‘Global Learning Platform’ and a suite of new digital products over the coming months.

Fallon said Pearson was “on track to at least stabilise revenue this year and return the company to top line growth from 2020”, keeping profit guidance unchanged but upgrading his EPS guidance to 57.5p-63p, though this only reflected improvements in finance costs and exchange rates.

Broker Liberum said the first-half “is a mixed indicator of full-year trends” and “do not believe the 2020 recovery story especially given the company is likely to be forced to go another major round of restructuring in US higher education to counteract the growing success of Cengage Unlimited”.

Pearson shares jumped 6% to 927.4p on Friday morning.

Quick facts: Pearson PLC

Price: 588.6 GBX

LSE:PSON
Market: LSE
Market Cap: £4.6 billion
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