Pearson's sales rise 2% in first quarter

Pearson's sales rise 2% in first quarter

First quarter sales at Pearson, excluding those of Penguin Random House and news provider Mergermarket, rose 2% to £900m, the company said ahead of today’s annual general meeting.

Pearson said trading was “in line” with expectations but didn’t disclose any profit figures.

Headline sales declined 6% due to the strength of sterling against the US dollar and key emerging markets. However, the company said Penguin Random House enjoyed a “good” first quarter performance, strengthened by more than 40 number one bestsellers across the world.

"Pearson has had a solid start to the year, in line with our expectations,” said chief executive John Fallon. “Our major programme of restructuring and investment is on-track and will drive a leaner, more cash generative, faster growing business from 2015."

Last year, Pearson said it would save £150m by refocusing the business on digital services and emerging markets.

Pearson said the cost of these restructurings, including the phasing of Penguin Random House integration charges and the disposal of Mergermarket, means its first-half adjusted operating profit and adjusted earnings per share will be lower this year than in 2013. However, the company’s profits are “weighted to the second half”, it added.

It still expects to report adjusted earnings per share of between 62p and 67p in 2014.
At the AGM, which will take place in London today (25th April)  at noon, Pearson will propose a dividend of 32p, giving a total dividend for 2013 of 48p.