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Pearson plc Surges 7% On Good Growth

The share price of publishing giant Pearson (LSE: PSON) (NYSE: PSO.US) is up nearly 7% this morning, following release of its 2013 interim results.

Sales were up 5% on a constant exchange rate (CER) basis, at £2,756m, with good growth in Education (up 3%), notably in North America (up 5%).

Penguin, in particular, saw strong growth of 14%. Now that its merger with Random House is complete, the new Penguin Random House entity will henceforth be accounted for as an ‘associate’, with 47% of its post-tax profit being consolidated in Pearson’s operating profit.

Sales in the FT Group were down 1% (CER), with the poor performance being attributed to weak advertising revenue.

Despite reduced operating profit, down £50m at £137m, and lower earnings-per-share, down 4.9p to 9.9% — both hit by restructuring charges — the company is increasing its interim dividend by 7%, to 16p per share.

Commenting on the results John Fallon, Person’s chief executive, said:

In trading terms, 2013 has begun much as we expected. In general, good growth in our digital, services and developing-market businesses continues to offset tough conditions for traditional publishing. Our strategy is to transform Pearson into a single operating company that is sharply focussed on the biggest needs in global education and on measurable learning outcomes. With our restructuring programme on track and the reorganisation of the company under way, we are making significant progress towards that goal.

Pearson’s share price currently stands at 1,336p, up almost 15% over the past month. It currently yields around 3.5%, forecast to rise close to 4% in 2014.

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> Jon doesn’t own shares in Pearson.