Financial Times buoyed by rise in subscriptions revenue

Financial Times publisher Pearson will report a double-digit rise in profits when it announces its full-year results in March, the company confirmed today.

In a trading update covering the last three months of 2008, Pearson said it expected to announce earnings growth in the region of 20 per cent for 2008, helped by increased subscription revenues at the FT.

FT Publishing, the division that includes the Financial Times and FT.com, achieved a good level of turnover and profit growth in the fourth quarter of the year, despite the slowdown in the advertising market, Pearson said.

Chief executive Marjorie Scardino said in this morning’s trading update: “We are naturally cautious about the economic environment, but we take confidence from our performance in 2008.

“It provides evidence that our strategy for long-term, sustainable growth is working.”

She added: “Some of our markets will be tough this year and we are managing the company accordingly.

“But that strategy, our record of investment and our resilience will enable us to take full advantage of the opportunities this environment gives us to build our business and gain share.”

Pearson said it expected trading conditions this year to remain challenging and said it was planning on the basis that the worldwide economy would stay tough throughout 2009.

In an email to staff this month, FT chief executive John Ridding said FT.com was set to reach one million registered users this month – and said further investment in the web was one of the group’s priorities for 2009.

But the newspaper has also announced plans to make 80 staff redundant, including 20 journalists.

Union members are to hold a mass meeting in the FT canteen this Thursday in protest at the threat of compulsory redundancies after not enough staff volunteered to leave.

NUJ head of publishing Barry Fitzpatrick said last week: “It is the first time that compulsory redundancies have been threatened at the Financial Times.

“The FT remains one of the most profitable media companies and they have no need to make compulsory redundancies.”

Pearson said it would announce its full-year results on 2 March.

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