FT Group owner Pearson (NYSE: PSO) expects to report a 20 percent growth in EPS in its full-year results in March, ahead of market expectations and despite the downturn hitting its publishing businesses. In a trading update today the London-quoted company said that Q408 conditions were “difficult” but that all of its business, including the FT, exceeded forecasts for the calendar year–thanks, in part, to the strength of the dollar versus the pound and a lower tax rate. FT Publishing produced “good sales and profit growth despite the slowdown in advertising” and is making progress in its shift towards subscription and content revenues. The company’s EPS in 2007 was 46.7 pence.
CEO Marjorie Scardino says: “Some of our markets will be tough this year and we are managing the company accordingly.” It’s a sentiment FT staff will be familiar with as the paper busies itself with cutting 80 jobs worldwide in an efficiency drive to integrate online and print staff. Pearson’s outlook is that the “worldwide economic environment will be tough” but despite challenging trading conditions the company expects to remain “durable”. Shares rose from £6 to £6.32 in early trading today as a result.