February 28, 2014 / 7:18 AM / 5 years ago

Pearson warns 2014 earnings to fall due to US education market

LONDON (Reuters) - British publisher Pearson warned on Friday that it expected earnings to fall in 2014 after publishing full-year results within the range of already downgraded forecasts due to the hit from the deteriorating U.S. education market.

Penguin books are seen in a used bookshop in central London October 29, 2012. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

Pearson, the 170-year-old education and media group which is restructuring under new leadership, endured a tough 2013, downgrading its guidance twice.

The publisher on Friday reported 2013 adjusted earnings per share of 70.1 pence after restructuring charges, down from 82.6 pence last year. It said at current exchange rates, 2014 adjusted EPS should be between 62 pence and 67 pence.

The British group, which owns the Financial Times, warned in January that its 2013 earnings would be lower than expected due to higher restructuring costs and poor demand for its North America education business in its key selling quarter.

It is restructuring the group to accelerate the move from print to digital services, and increasing its presence in fast-growing emerging markets.

“We are in the middle of what we believe will be a short, but difficult, transition - one that through our combined investment and restructuring programs will drive a leaner, more cash generative, faster growing business from 2015,” Chief Executive John Fallon said in a statement.

Pearson for years beat market expectations as it rolled out its education and testing business around the world but it was hit by a string of managerial changes and slowing growth in 2013.

Fallon took over from the 16-year veteran Marjorie Scardino in 2013 and, faced with earnings growth stalling, embarked on a 150 million pound restructuring programme to boost margins and counter tighter educational budgets.

On Friday the company said it still expected to spend around 50 million pounds of net restructuring charges to reshape the publishing businesses, and 50 million pounds of organic investment in structural growth opportunities in digital, services and emerging markets.

It said its restructuring expenditure would return to more normal levels in 2015 when cyclical pressures should ease.

Reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by Brenda Goh and Belinda Goldsmith

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