Virtual learning and adult ‘upskilling’ helps publisher Pearson boost sales to £3.1bn

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Publisher Pearson said sales of its textbooks and virtual learning offerings were boosted by increased demand for online learning, among adults and schools.

Sales increased 12 per cent to £3,841m during the full year 2022 compared to £3,428m the previous year.

Operating profit in the preliminary results were £271m, compared to £183m in 2021.

This rise was driven by property cost savings, and a lower restructuring charge, partially offset by inflation and a reduction in other net gains and losses arising from business acquisitions and disposals

Earnings per share stood at 32.8p, up from 23.5p as international qualifications uptake was boosted by a post-Covid resumption of exams.

Operating cash inflow increased from £388m in 2021 to £401m in 2022, while debt stood at £0.6bn compared to £0.4bn in 2021, Pearson said it had proposed a final dividend of 14.9p which equated to a full year dividend of 21.5p per share.

Its Pearson+ offering was “gaining traction” with 600,00 paid subs and over 4.8 million registered users in first full year in market.

Andy Bird, chief executive of Pearson, said: “These results are testament to the strong momentum that we’ve been building operationally and strategically over the past 24 months. For a second consecutive year, our financial performance was ahead of expectations, and we saw progress in our strategic initiatives, which are taking Pearson on a new, exciting journey.

“Our portfolio continues to strengthen, with our new Workforce Skills talent investment platform created to leverage the structural growth in our markets and increased need for upskilling and reskilling. This will be a key growth driver for Pearson over the coming years.

“Our confidence for the future is underpinned by ongoing innovation, alongside our increasing divisional interconnectivity. This is combined with accelerating demand for our digital solutions, a growing consumer-focused proposition and our ability to serve more people across their lifelong learning journeys.”

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