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Pearson axes 3,000 more jobs

LiveMint logoLiveMint 04-08-2017 AFP

London: British publisher Pearson on Friday axed an extra 3,000 jobs in an ongoing cost-cutting drive aimed at combatting weak demand after a series of gloomy profit warnings. The job cuts, which comprise roughly 10% of the group’s global workforce, were announced in a first-half results statement. Pearson also lowered its interim shareholder dividend by 72% to five pence a share.

The latest cutbacks, which will run from 2017-2019 as part of efficiency plans launched in May, will generate annual cost savings of 300 million pounds. “We will reduce Pearson’s employee headcount by approximately 3,000 full time equivalent employees,” it said in the statement on Friday.

“Savings will come from the simplification of our technology, increased use of shared service centres, standardisation and automation of processes, reduction of headcount with a particular focus on managerial positions, centralisation of procurement and the reduction of office locations.” The group had already removed 4,000 jobs in a radical restructuring in early 2016.

Pearson, which faces chronic financial difficulties, is attempting to reposition itself towards the education and digital markets as it moves away from the traditional publishing business. In January, the company issued a gloomy profit warning and last month it sold almost half its stake in Penguin Random House to joint venture partner Bertelsmann.

The publisher is largely dependent on the education market, after it shed the Financial Times newspaper and half of the Economist Group in 2015. Meanwhile on Friday, Pearson announced that it rebounded into a slender profit in the first half of the year. Operating profits stood at 16 million pounds in the reporting period. That contrasted with a loss of 286 million pounds a year earlier.

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