PEARSON helped the FTSE 100 book gains for the eleventh day in a row yesterday, after the owner of Penguin Books and The Financial Times said it would match last year’s profits. <br /><br />The world’s biggest publisher of text books said that half year pre-tax profits at the firm, which makes the majority of earnings in its second half, were up 13 per cent to £62m on sales that rose one per cent on a constant currency basis to £2.398bn. <br /><br />Pearson added that full-year adjusted earnings would be “at or above the 2008 level of 57.7p a share” thanks to a strong performance at its education business, which offset a fall in profits at the arm which publishes The Financial Times. <br /><br />Chief executive Marjorie Scardino also gave an upbeat outlook for the firm’s prospects in 2010/11.<br /><br />“Market conditions are tough and may stay that way, but we are confident that we will perform well this year and next,” she said. <br /><br />Shares in Pearson closed up 12 per cent, rising 70p to 679p. <br /><br />Pearson’s education business was the main profit driver despite weakening demand from American schools due to budget cuts. <br /><br />However, the rapid expansion of the firm’s international education business as well as sustained demand from higher education helped to offset the softening schools markets. <br /><br />But profits at FT Publishing, which owns the Financial Times as well as half of the Economist, fell almost 40 per cent in the first half of the year. <br /><br />Adjusted operating profit at the newspaper and magazine division was £14m in the first half, against £30m in the same period last year on sales that slipped 13 per cent to £176m. <br /><br />Scardino confirmed that she had approached investors about a share placing in March which did not proceed due to a lukewarm response.