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Profits up for British publisher

BRITISH publisher Pearson PLC, owner of the Financial Times newspaper and Penguin Books, posted a 4-percent rise in 2008 earnings yesterday and said that it would increase its dividend.

Net profit for the company, which also publishes teaching materials, rose to 323 million pounds (US$459 million) from 310 million pounds the year before. It said that it would raise its final year dividend by 7 percent to 33.8 pence and said it expects earnings for 2009 to at least match 2008.

Pearson shares fell 2.2 percent to 645 pence in early morning trading as Chief Executive Marjorie Scardino warned that economic conditions this year would be tough.

"We don't expect economic conditions to improve any time soon but we do expect our company to remain hardy and aggressive," she said.

Final year revenues rose 16 percent to 4.8 billion pounds and pre-tax profits rose 25 percent to 585 million pounds.


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