StockMarketWire.com - Publishing and education company Pearson said its annual profit more than halved, owing to asset disposals and restructuring costs related to its transition towards offering digital services.

Pre-tax profit for the year through December dropped to £232m, down from £498m on-year.

Revenue fell 6% to £260m and underlying revenue was flat, though the company's adjusted operating profit rose 6% to £581m.

Pearson declared a final dividend of 13.5p per share, up 4% on-year.

Turning to its outlook, the company forecast a decline in annual operating profit to between £410m and £490m, after excluding the 25% stake in Penguin Random House that it agreed to sell in December.

Sales, excluding for the US higher education courseware business, were expected to grow at a low single-digit percentage.

'With 76% of the company already growing strongly, and all parts of Pearson profitable, we are a simpler and more efficient company, completely focused on empowering people to progress through a lifetime of learning,' chief executive John Fallon said.

'The future of learning will be increasingly digital and we have built, by revenue, by far the world's leading digital learning company.'

'As we benefit from further efficiencies from the investments we have made and deploy our strong balance sheet, Pearson is now well placed, in time, to grow in a profitable and sustainable way.'

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