Shares in Pearson (LON:PSON) have fallen into the red in today’s session as the blue-chip publisher revealed a fall in sales for last year. The news comes after earlier this week, the company inked a deal to sell its US K12 courseware business to Nexus Capital Management for headline consideration of $250 million.
As of 09:47 GMT, Pearson’s share price had given up 1.40 percent to 871.00p. The shares are underperforming the broader London market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index having climbed marginally into positive territory and currently standing 0.17 percent higher at 7,179.76 points.
Pearson updates on FY performance
Pearson announced in a statement this morning that its statutory sales had decreased nine percent last year, with the group attributing the fall to portfolio changes and currency movements. The company’s adjusted operating profit meanwhile came in at £546 million, in the upper half of the publisher’s guidance range of between £520 million and £560 million.
The company further reduced its debt to £143 million, from £432 million in the prior-year period, and proposed a final dividend of 13p, marking an eight-percent increase and equating to a full-year dividend of 18.5p, up from 2017’s 17p.
“We made good progress last year,” Pearson’s chief executive John Fallon commented in the statement, adding that the group expects “companywide sales to stabilise this year, and grow again in 2020 and beyond”.
Publisher inks pension deal with L&G
Pearson further updated investors on its pension plan, noting that it had purchased an insurance buy-in policy with Legal & General (LON:LGEN), amounting to approximately £500 million. The publisher said that together with the two policies purchased in 2017, around 50 percent of the plan’s total liabilities were now insured.