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Pearson hits 18-month high on buyback and AI optimism

Published 01/03/2024, 13:12
Updated 01/03/2024, 13:12
© Reuters.  Pearson hits 18-month high on buyback and AI optimism

Proactive Investors - Pearson (LON:PSON) moved to the top of the FTSE 100 risers as the education specialist allayed fears that AI would be a major threat to its business.

New chief executive and former Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) employee Omar Abbosh,

said the development of AI and its integration into Pearson’s product suite can mark an inflection point for the group.

Investors were also pleased with the group’s announcement of another £200 million share buyback as cash flow rose over the past twelve months.

Buying of its shares will start when the current £300 million buyback ends next month.

Operating profits in 2023 jumped by 84% to £498 million as restructuring costs eased, though revenues dipped to £3.67 billion (£3.84 billion).

Underlying sales rose by 5% driven by a recovery in its assessments and qualifications business though the virtual learning business saw revenues drop by a fifth on the previously flagged OPM contract loss.

Shore Cap said it was a "pleasing" set of results with the broker highlighting the robust performance, momentum, and positive nature of the accompanying outlook.

“Pearson is well placed to benefit from a positive outlook for global learning spend across a variety of sectors and to enhance its offering via the next stage of its digital journey,” the broker wrote in a note.

A full-year dividend of 22.7p (22.5p) was declared.

Shares rose 3.8% to 997p.

Read more on Proactive Investors UK

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