Operating profit up 49% at FT Group as Pearson turns to digital

Adjusted operating profit at the FT Group, which includes the Financial Times, rose 49% year on year to £60m in 2010, according to Pearson's annual results.

Marjorie Scardino: chief executive of Pearson
Marjorie Scardino: chief executive of Pearson

Pearson, the owner of the Financial Times and the publisher Penguin, reported a pre-tax profit rise of 28% year on year to £670m.

Full year revenue was £5.66bn, headline growth of 10% when compared to 2009 and up 5%, excluding the effects of currency movements and portfolio changes.

At FT Group, which includes financial research and data division Mergermarket, revenue was £403m, representing headline growth of 13% year on year and underlying growth, excluding currency movements and portfolio changes, of 9% year on year.

Adjusted operating profit at the FT Group was £60m in 2010, representing headline growth of 54% year on year and underlying growth, excluding the effect of currency movements and portfolio changes, of 49%.

Pearson, today, said it is rapidly shifting its business model at the FT Group towards digital and subscription revenues as advertising revenue "remains unpredictable".

Pearson said it sees a healthy demand for the FT's "premium content", especially in digital formats, and a recovery in business conditions for Mergermarket.

Pearson's digital revenue grew 24% year on year in headline terms to £1.6bn in 2010, up from £1.3bn in 2009, and now account for 29% of its sales.

In 2010 the FT's digital paid circulation grew 50% to 207,000, representing a third of total global paid circulation.

Marjorie Scardino, chief executive of Pearson, said: "These numbers add up to another excellent year for Pearson. More important than that, they indicate the changing shape and nature of our company – more digital, more efficient, more exposed to fast-growing economies, more focussed on all kinds of learning.

"Our markets will be tough again this year, but we have a proven formula built on investment, innovation and efficiency which we are using to accelerate change in our company and in our markets."

Adjusted earnings per share was 77.5p, beating the FT's own predictions and a rise of 19% year on year.

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