- Educational publisher and services group Pearson said it expected to post a substantial drop in annual earnings as the pandemic kept many students away from classes, hurting sales.

Adjusted operating profit for the year through December was expected in the range of £310 million-to-£315 million, the company said.

Pearson did not provide a comparative earnings figure. Last year, it booked an annual adjusted operating profit of £581 million, implying its earnings could fall by as much as 47%.

Revenue had dropped 10%, though had grown 4% in the fourth quarter on a year-on-year basis.

'The challenging impact of Covid-19 has been felt most acutely across international and global assessment due to test centre and school closures, exam cancellations, reduced global mobility and international economic pressure on spending,' Pearson said.

'It has accelerated demand for digital learning and performance in global online learning has been strong,' it added.

Pearson said it achieved incremental in-year cost benefits of £60 million associated with the 2017-2019 restructuring plan, and remained on track for another £50 million of cost efficiencies for 2021.

'Uncertainty remains in the near term as a result of the ongoing pandemic, with further lockdowns, exam cancellations and reduced global mobility,' chief executive Andy Bird said.

'However, I am excited about our future given the shift to online learning and the huge opportunity to help more people develop the skills they need.'

Story provided by