Belfast Telegraph

Publisher Pearson recruits 90 as part of Belfast switch

By Rachel Martin

Publishing giant Pearson has taken on 90 employees in Belfast as part of its restructuring following the sale of the Financial Times.

While its plans for Belfast emerged earlier this year, the number of staff has now been confirmed in the firm's third quarter results.

And it has emerged that the London-headquartered firm has signed a deal to rent a 15,400 sq ft office in Millennium House on Great Victoria Street.

It had previously been reported that the company planned to employ between 400 and 600 people here. However, a spokesman for Pearson yesterday said that figure was too high.

The jobs are a mix of graduate positions and accounting roles.

Pearson is the world's largest educational company with over 35,000 employees based in around 70 countries.

The decision to set up in Belfast was part of the firm's global restructuring to concentrate solely on educational publishing.

It is expected the restructure will cost a further £320m in 2016, but will result in savings of around £350m.

As a result around 4,000 full time employees will lose their jobs.

Coram Williams, Pearson's chief financial officer, said: "The growth and simplification plan we announced in January is on track and I'm pleased with the progress we have made. In the third quarter, our new finance systems went live in the UK, and we have ramped up activities at a new global finance processing centre in Belfast. I was there last month and it's very impressive."

Chief executive John Fallon said: "Our performance is good and our growth and simplification process is on track."

However, Pearson's year-to-date US sales in higher education are down. The slump was put down to a "correction in inventory levels" and a "more efficient secondary sales market".

Mr Fallon added: "Even without even a modest recovery in the fourth quarter we still expect to make £580m-£620m operating profit."

Last year the company sold The Financial Times for almost £100m as well as its 50% stake in The Economist Group to existing shareholders for £469m.

Belfast Telegraph