- Educational publisher and services group Pearson posted a rise in annual profit after it benefited from the sale of a stake in publishing group Penguin Random House and lower restructuring charges.

Underlying earnings, however, fell after the pandemic led to school closures and disrupted exam schedules.

Pre-tax profit for the year through December increased to £354 million, up from £232 million year-on-year, even as revenue fell 12% to £3.40 billion.

Adjusted operating profit dropped 46% to £313 million, which the company said was in line with revised expectations.

Pearson held its annual dividend steady at 19.5p per share.

Looking ahead, Pearson said it expected to achieve year-on-year revenue growth in 2021 with adjusted operating profit in line with current market expectations.

'Despite the significant challenges of 2020, it is thanks to the tenacity and commitment of colleagues around the world that Pearson has delivered a solid financial performance,' chief executive Andy Bird said.

'This year, as we recover from the impact of the pandemic, we are focused on delivering revenue and profit growth.'

'Pearson's strategy is now geared around three key demand-led global market opportunities which play to all our strengths: the rise in online and digital learning; addressing the workforce skills gap; and meeting the growing demand for dependable accreditation and certification.'

'Our existing assets, strong balance sheet, new organisational structure and priorities will enable us to seize these opportunities.'

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