It's important to remember that Pearson's flagship FT, and one of the IHT's main competitors, along with the WSJ, represents a very small part of Pearson's total revenue. On that note:
Sales were up 11 percent at the FT Group and advertising revenues at FT Publishing were 1 percent ahead of 2007.
That all said, it has outperformed European media stocks by 9% over the last 15 months, and rose it tough market conditions no less than 4.3 percent to 583.5 pence yesterday. But remember the head days of £15 plus prices?
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
By Dan Lalor and Kate Holton
Publishing group Pearson said its adjusted 2008 earnings per share should be towards the top end of current market estimates if the dollar maintains gains versus sterling.
The owner of The Financial Times also said on Wednesday it was trading in line with expectations, with sales up 8 percent and operating profit up 11 percent at constant exchange rates in the nine months to end-September.
Sales were up 3 percent on an underlying basis.
The news sent shares in the Penguin books owner up 4.3 percent to 583.5 pence in early trading against an otherwise lower market, as analysts welcomed the "reassuring" statement.
"We're naturally cautious about the global economic conditions, but we have good trading momentum, innovative products, resilient businesses and a strong balance sheet," Pearson chief executive Marjorie Scardino said in a statement.
"We are trading in line with our expectations and we remain on track to make further progress on our financial goals in 2008," the group said.
Analysts' median forecast is for an adjusted 2008 EPS of 49.25 pence from Pearson, based on a range from 45.65 to 52.8 pence, according to Reuters Estimates.
Pearson said its education business was trading in line with expectations, with sales up 10 percent and margin guidance unchanged.
It expects 2008 margins to be similar to the 2007 levels, even after "significant expensed integrations costs" and it expects margin improvements in 2009 and beyond.
Sales were up 11 percent in the North American education division and it expects full-year sales to grow by around 10 percent, or by 2 to 4 percent on an underlying basis.
Sales were up 11 percent at the FT Group and advertising revenues at FT Publishing were 1 percent ahead of 2007. Sales were up 3 percent at Penguin and it expects a good performance in the important fourth-quarter Christmas selling period.
Analysts mostly welcomed the statement as reassuring but RBS Media did note that the education division and Penguin had slowed in the third quarter compared to the first half.
"While the 9 month organic growth of 3 percent is respectable, and the company reiterated guidance for low single digit revenue growth for the full-year, we note that Education slowed meaningfully in Q3 (H1 growth of 4 percent vs 9 month growth of 1 percent), as did Penguin (H1 organic growth of 9 percent vs 9 month growth of 4 percent).
"Pearson's business is late cycle, we expect Pearson's organic growth to slow to 1 percent in 2009 as state funding for education slows," they said.
Pearson shares, which have outperformed other leading European media stocks by 9 percent over the past 12 months, closed at 559.5 pence on Tuesday to value the business at 4.37 billion pounds.
(Reporting by Dan Lalor and Kate Holton; Editing by Hans Peters)
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