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Oct. 21, 2015, 2:44 a.m. EDT

Pearson cuts guidance; warns on market conditions

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By MarketWatch

LONDON--Pearson PLC (PSON.LN), the educational products specialist, Wednesday said it is cutting its full-year guidance following recent asset disposals, and warned of challenging market conditions.

The company expects earnings per share on an adjusted basis for 2015 to be between 70 pence and 75 pence, down from a previous range of between 75 pence and 80 pence. It said it made the revision following the disposal of PowerSchool, FT Group and The Economist Group, as well as movements in foreign exchange rates.

"Given a strong competitive performance but continued challenging market conditions, we expect our adjusted earnings per share to be around the bottom end of [the 70-75 pence] range," it added in a statement, adding that it is based on current exchange rates continuing to the end of the year, no further acquisitions or disposals, a tax rate of approximately 15% and an interest charge of approximately 70 million pounds ($108.2 million).

On trading, it said its performance remained strong in the first nine months of the year with share gains across major markets including the U.S. and U.K. Still, it added it faced cyclical and policy-related factors which affected some of its operations, including U.S. higher education.

In the third quarter, sales fell 2% on the year. For the nine months of 2015, sales rose 2%.

"The key cyclical and policy-related factors which have been hurting our markets for some years have yet to improve," said Chief Executive John Fallon.

Shares closed Tuesday at 1,188 pence.

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