Pearson swings to £23 million of loss in H1

Written by: Wajeeh Khan
July 24, 2020
  • Pearson swings to £23 million of loss in the first half of the current fiscal year.
  • The British education company's CEO John Fallon to retire later this year.
  • The multinational publishing firm declares 6 pence a share of interim dividend.

Pearson plc (LON: PSON) revealed to have swung to a loss in the first half (H1) of the current fiscal year on Friday. The company, however, expressed confidence that it will hit its annual targets this year as it announced that demand was recovering quickly since June. The British supplier of plumbing equipment, Ferguson, also reported a 0.6% decline in U.S. sales on Friday.

Shares of the company opened about 6% down on Friday but jumped 3% on market open. At 540 pence per share, Pearson is currently a little under 20% down year to date in the stock market after recovering from an even lower 424 pence per share in May. Learn more about the stock market volatility.  

Pearson’s CEO John Fallon to retire later this year

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Chairman Sidney Taurel of Pearson reiterated on Friday that CEO John Fallon is scheduled to retire later this year and that the search for the company’s new CEO was well advanced.

The British education company reported £23 million of loss in the first six months of the ongoing financial year that ended on 30th June as compared to £144 million of profit in the same period last year. According to CEO Fallon:

“COVID-19 has had a major impact on trading, but we are encouraged by the improving trends and pick and puck up in sales in June.”

The Coronavirus pandemic that has so far infected a little under 300,000 people in the United Kingdom and caused over 45,500 deaths, as per the London-based company, has fuelled a switch to online learning in the long-term that is likely to stay strong even after the virus subsides.  

Pearson declares 6 pence a share of interim dividend

Pearson is among the handful of British companies that did not suspend its final dividend amidst the health crisis in recent months. On Friday, the multinational publishing firm declared 6 pence a share of interim dividend which is identical to last year.

The company expressed confidence that it is on track to hit its annual forecasts but said that it was prone to change if the countrywide schools remain under extended lockdowns. As per the company-compiled consensus, analysts are expecting the company to print £3.46 billion in annual revenue and £332 million of operating profit on an adjusted basis.

Pearson’s performance was also reported fairly downbeat last year with an annual decline of more than 30%. At the time of writing, the £4.06 billion company has a price to earnings ratio of 15.91.