Pearson trading warning sees biggest share dive since 2002

UK-based education and publishing company Pearson said that it is still facing tough trading this year.

Shares in the FT publisher have fallen seven per cent this morning - the worst daily slide since 2002. They’re currently down 7.5 per cent at £1.22p.

Operating profit was approximately £865m before restructuring charges, said the company.

Net restructuring costs tallying to around £130m mean the company has adjusted its expected earnings per share to 70p from 83p.

In October, Pearson warned that its full-year operating profits for 2013 would be lower than 2012. It had thought then that earnings per share would be unaffected and broadly in line with 2012.

Today, it confirmed that cyclical, policy-related and structural pressures had an impact on its education publishing in both the US and UK. Pearson generates about 60 per cent of its sales in the US.

The Penguin Random House merger and lower underlying margins in North America Higher Education both affected its 2013 performance.

Digital learning, something Pearson prioritises, continued to do well in emerging economies, where it focuses efforts, with “strong growth”.

John Fallon, chief executive, commented:

Pearson made good progress on our strategic goals in 2013 but our trading and financial performance has been weaker than expected, particularly in North America.

With trading conditions still challenging in 2014, this further underlines the importance of the work we started in 2013 to reduce our established cost base and redirect our investment towards our biggest future growth opportunities.