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Pearson: 2018 earnings fail to inspire, shares slide

( - British publishing group Pearson reiterated its 2019 guidance on Friday, although failed to provide any exciting details about its prospects, which has sent its shares down in London.

The company said total revenue fell by 1% in underlying terms last year, due to a decline at the US higher education business, while adjusted operating profit was up 8% in underlying terms, at 546 million pounds.

For 2019, Pearson reiterated the 2019 guidance it gave in January, including adjusted operating profit of between 590 million pounds and 640 million pounds, and adjusted EPS of 56.5 pence to 62 pence.

Pearon also said that it expects sales to "stabilise" this year, with renewed growth from 2020 onwards.

However, analysts at Liberum said the detail provided today is "likely to raise some further questions on Pearson's ability to return to growth in 2020."

"Flat underlying revenue growth for the business in 2019 suggests another sluggish year," the broker said.

"While there are pockets of growth (US Online Programme Management revenues grew 10%, although we think that was probably below market growth), the overall trends within the business remain weak," Liberum added.

Investors were not particularly pleased by the report: the Pearson share is currently down 1.5% at 870.2 pence in London.

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