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Britain's Pearson falls into first-half net loss

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

British publisher Pearson fell into a first-half net loss on the back of restructuring costs, the group said on Friday, but better-than-expected revenues sent its share price surging.

The owner of the Financial Times newspaper suffered a slender net loss of £8.0 million ($12 million, 9 million euros) in the six months to the end of June, compared with profit after tax of £36 million a year earlier.

Profits were also hit by costs arising from discontinued operations related to the merger of its publishing businesses Penguin and Bertelsmann's Random House division. The deal was completed at the start of July.

Despite the net loss, Pearson shares rallied as investors welcomed news that sales climbed five percent at constant exchange rates to £2.8 billion, beating market expectations.

"In trading terms, 2013 has begun much as we expected," said Pearson chief executive John Fallon.

"In general, good growth in our digital, services and developing-market businesses continues to offset tough conditions for traditional publishing.

"Our strategy is to transform Pearson into a single operating company that is sharply focussed on the biggest needs in global education and on measurable learning outcomes.

"With our restructuring programme on track and the reorganisation of the company under way, we are making significant progress towards that goal."

In late morning deals, Pearson's share price jumped 7.19 percent to 1,342 pence on London's FTSE 100 index, which was 0.11 percent higher at 6,595.04 points.

"Investors are focusing on the sales aspect, which beat expectations," noted IG analyst Brenda Kelly.

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