FT Group more than doubles profit

Revenues helped by big increase in digital subscriptions.

The Financial Times Group more than doubled its adjusted operating profit for the first half of this year to £30m as revenue rose nine per cent to £192m.

FT Group is a division of Pearson that publishes the Financial Times, the Mergermarket information service and holds a 50 per cent interest in The Economist and the FTSE.

Reporting its interim results this morning, parent company Pearson revealed that digital subscriptions of the FT were up 27 per cent to 149,000, as it passed 1,000 corporate licences for its content.

Pearson said FT.com now had 2.5m registered users, up 77 per cent year-on-year, and there has been 250,000 downloads of its iPad application since its launched in May and was made available for free under a sponsorship deal.

A statement from Pearson said: "After weak advertising markets in 2009, our advertising revenues returned to growth in the first half of 2010 although the visibility for advertising revenues is poor and the outlook remains uncertain."

FT Group currently owns a 61 per cent stake in information business Interactive Data. In May, Pearson announced the sale of that business to Silverlake and Warburg Pincus for $2bn. Pearson revealed this morning that the deal is due to be completed in the next few weeks.

Overall Pearson reported adjusted operating profit for the first six months of the year up 79 per cent to £178m on total revenue which climbed nine per cent to £2.3bn.

The majority of Pearson's sales (around £1.5bn) came from the education publishing side of the business, the company said.
Pearson-owned book publisher Penguin reported half-year sales up nine per cent to £493m and an adjusted operating profit of £44m.

Dominic Ponsford writes for pressgazette.co.uk