LONDON (ShareCast) - Publishing giant Pearson continues to expect growth in sales and operating profits this year, having traded in line with expectations in the first quarter.
The Financial Times and Penguin books publisher said sales increased by 11% at constant exchange rates to £1.16bn in the first three months of the year. The underlying sales increase was 3% while what Pearson calls the headline increase was 12%.
Net debt increased during the first quarter by £206m to £705m, level with the first quarter of 2011, as a result of the normal seasonal build-up of working capital ahead of the group's key selling periods in the education sector, although acquisition spend has also added to the debt build up. Pearson said it has head-room of around £1bn available to invest in bolt-on acquisitions.