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Pearson H1 Profit Climbs, Sales Down; Sees FY20 Adj. Operating Profit Broadly Flat With Market View

British publishing and education company Pearson plc (PSO,PSON.L) reported Friday that its first-half profit before tax was 35 million pounds, up from 13 million pounds last year. Basic earnings per share grew to 6.3 pence from 6.1 pence last year.

Adjusted loss per share was 5.1 pence, compared to profit of 13.2 pence a year ago.

Operating profit from continuing operations was 107 million pounds, up from last year's 37 million pounds. Adjusted operating loss was 23 million pounds, compared to last year's 144 million pounds.

The latest results reflected 140 million pounds from COVID-19 trading pressures after cost mitigations.

Sales were 1.49 billion pounds, down from 1.83 billion pounds a year ago. Sales dropped 18 percent on headline basis, 20 percent on constant currency basis and 17 percent on underlying basis.

The company further said June trading shows improving trends.

Looking ahead, the company said it now expects full year net interest charge to be about 60 million pounds after issuing a 10-year Education Bond of 350 million pounds in June 2020.

The company said, "At this stage, it remains difficult to predict the ultimate disruptive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Pearson's performance for the full year. However, the second quarter performed in line with our expectations and, while risks remain, particularly around enrolments in the back to school period and local lockdowns impacting schools reopenings, based on our current assessment of these trends we are on track to deliver adjusted operating profit broadly consistent with market expectations."

In International region, second half is expected to recover as lockdowns ease and schools, private language schools and test centres reopen.

The UK Government has now approved Pearson to open bookings and start delivering Secure English Language Tests for UK Visas & Immigration.

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