Pearson raises its full year forecasts

PEARSON, the publisher of the Financial Times and Penguin books, yesterday raised its full-year earnings forecast after it was buoyed by the success of its digital education business.

Schools in Europe and America are discarding their dog-eared textbooks in favour of computerised learning materials, an area where Pearson has invested heavily.

The firm said it was increasing guidance for earnings growth in 2009 from four per cent to 10 per cent, citing strong Christmas sales of Penguin books and the strength of the US dollar as further reasons to be confident. Pearson gets 60 per cent of its revenues from the US.

It pushed up its earnings per share guidance from 61p per share to 63p per share, despite a “tough macroeconomic environment”.

And in a trading update ahead of its results due on 1 March, the firm said the FT Group that publishes the Financial Times had performed ahead of expectations thanks to the resilience of subscription revenues in the recession.

It also said that ad revenues were beginning to recover, after the worst advertising recession in decades.

But chief executive Marjorie Scardino warned that its bullish stance could not be translated into confidence about the economy in 2010.

“We are not counting on any help from the global economy this year, but we still see significant long-term growth opportunities,” she said.