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Pearson warns profits will be hit by restructuring costs

The publisher of the Financial Times warned over full-year profits after being hit by higher restructuring costs and weaker-than-expected trading in its North American education arm.

Pearson said it had faced "tough market conditions throughout 2013", with education publishing in the US and UK - its two largest markets - the hardest hit.

It said it saw good profit growth for its flagship FT newspaper as online subscriptions offset ongoing declines in print advertising and circulation, but this was overshadowed by the woes in its US arm.

The FTSE 100 firm, which makes around 60% of annual sales from the US said underlying annual earnings excluding restructuring costs were now expected to fall to about £865 million.

This is 5% lower than a year earlier and below market forecasts for around £900 million.

Higher net restructuring costs of £130 million will push 2013 earnings down further to around £735 million.

Pearson chief executive John Fallon said: "Our trading and financial performance has been weaker than expected, particularly in North America.

"With trading conditions still challenging in 2014, this further underlines the importance of the work we started in 2013 to reduce our established cost base and redirect our investment towards our biggest future growth opportunities."

Mr Fallon, who succeeded long-standing boss Marjorie Scardino in January 2013, unveiled an overhaul last year to reorganise the group into three divisions and reduce its education business across some regions in favour of growth markets such as Brazil, South Africa and China.

It has also been cutting costs, including axing jobs.

While performance last year was strong in emerging markets, overall trading was knocked by poor demand particularly from the higher education market in the US amid state budget cuts and lower enrolments.

"The career college sector, in which we have a strong market position, was particularly weak," the group said.

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