Shares of Pearson, owner of Financial Times, plunge on profit warning

LONDON (AFP) - Shares in British publisher Pearson, owner of the Financial Times, plunged in morning trading on Thursday after the company issued a profits warning.

The shares were showing a fall of 7.55 per cent to 1,200 pence.

Pearson said that annual operating profit for 2013, before restructuring charges, would be sharply lower than in 2012.

The group, which has widespread publishing interests notably in educational publishing, said that the operating figure would be about 865 million pounds (S$1.83 billion).

At the end of October the group had already warned that the operating figure would fall, instead of being steady as had been expected previously.

In 2012, the adjusted operating outcome was 936 million pounds.

The latest setback reflects an accounting charge for the merger of the group's publishing interests under the Penguin brand, and the Random House brand in the German Bertelsmann group, and to difficult market conditions for university books in North America.

However, earnings per share would be steady at about 83.0 pence compared with 82.6 pence in 2012, the company said.

The group is to publish its full annual results on Feb 28.