Pearson set for return to profit growth despite US, South African pressures

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British education company Pearson said it was on track to return to profit growth in 2018 despite pressures in its U.S. higher education textbook business wiping out earlier sales gains.

Pearson, rebuilding as a digital learning company after major pressures in its U.S. higher education division, said underlying revenue came in flat for the nine-months, compared with a 2 percent rise in the first half of the year.

Its ‘growth’ unit was held back by weak sales in South Africa.

The reiteration of the profit outlook may provide some reassurance however as the group earns around 80 percent of its income in the second half, making this a key period for the company.

The British group also said it expected a one-off tax benefit and resulting lower finance charges to boost 2018 adjusted EPS into the range of 68 pence to 72 pence, compared with a previous forecast of up to 53 pence.

Pearson said it still expects to deliver 2018 adjusted operating profit in the range of 520 million pounds ($685 million) to 560 million pounds. It says this represents growth when stripping out the impact of disposals.

“We are on track to return to underlying profit growth and, with a strong balance sheet, are set up well for the future,” Chief Executive John Fallon said.

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