Publisher Pearson has reported a 12.5 per cent rise in pre-tax profits, but failed to meet market expectations as its Penguin books arm continued to struggle.
Pearson said pre-tax profits for the year to December 31 rose from £152 million in 2003 to £171 million.
The London-based publisher said its subsidiaries FT Group, which includes the Financial Times newspaper and French publication Les Echos, and Pearson Education showed growth in adjusted operating profits of 69 per cent and five per cent respectively.
Advertising revenues at the Financial Times were up three per cent in the first two months of the year, and, assuming that rate of growth persists throughout the year, the newspaper will reach break-even this year.
However, it said its underlying operating profits at Penguin slid 24 per cent, excluding the effect of currency, to £54 million.
Chief executive Marjorie Scardino said 2005 earnings would likely be in a range of "early thirties to around about 40" pence per share, compared to the 30 pence per share the group in 2004.