The Week In Review: Education helps Pearson book profit

Pearson's trading update this week was the envy of much of the media sector. Underlying sales at the publishing group were up 5 per cent and profit up 15 per cent for the first nine months of the year. This in an industry where most companies are struggling to show any growth.

The difference is that Pearson is not much exposed to advertising revenues, except through theFinancial Times (which provided sales of just £179m out of £1.9bn at the half-year stage). The company's fortunes are tied to selling textbooks to the US, where it covers a third of the market for schools and higher education. The other arm of Pearson is its Penguin books division. This went through a difficult period in 2004-05, due to distribution glitches and other issues, but it is now doing OK - full-year sales growth will be 1 per cent this year.

Pearson has a fantastic collection of assets, which are performing well. While Marjorie Scardino is chief executive there is little prospect of a break-up but, while she has announced no retirement date, she turns 60 next year. Hold.


Worries about terrorism and extra security measures at UK airports continue to take their toll on MyTravel. Long-term, however, the growing numbers of people who favour piecing together their own flights and accommodation online are a much bigger threat to the group's business. Avoid


Tinopolis was little know outside its Welsh base until its audacious - and successful - bid for rival independent TV producer Television Corporation last year. This week, the AIM-listed group boasted of strong market conditions and said it was optimistic about the future. It has also made a high-profile hire. John Willis, a former head of programmes at Channel 4 and MD of London Weekend Television, is to become creative director. Buy.


The Innovation Group has kept its head down over the past few years in order to transform its business model after suffering post-tech boom malaise. TIG entered the US earlier this year through the acquisition of SurePlan, which extended the insurance claims outsourcing model that it has employed in South Africa and Australia in recent years. On top of its software, TIG provides outsourcing services to insurance customers. Buy.


St James's Place, the upmarket wealth manager, is grabbing more than its fair slice of the savings market. Strong third-quarter figures reflect St James's healthy position in the upper reaches of the pensions market, which have boomed since the so-called A-day tax reforms introduced in April. Buy.


Financial Objects is on the road to recovery. The small software provider turned in impressive interim results last month and appointed a new chief executive this week. Karim Peermohamed joined the company in 1997 and rises from the position of chief operating officer. Hold.


Mr Kipling's cakes will help RHM's interim results meet analyst forecasts. That was the key message from the food maker's trading update to the City this week. However, analysts are sceptical about the sustainability of the cakes recovery, and while the company's bread division has recently gained market share, this trend may be reversed. With high energy and wheat costs set to plague RHM for some time, avoid.


Armour Group, the home and in-car electronics firm, has shed a third of its value since the start of the year after a series of profit warnings. Full-year results this week showed a decline in pre-tax profits to £1.6m from £2.1m. However, measures have already been taken to cut the company's cost base and at just nine times forward earnings, the shares are a buy.


Synergy Healthcare's growth over the past five years has been spectacular. When it listed in August 2001, it had a market value of £13m. This week, the group was valued at more than £250m. Synergy makes its money from cleaning bed linen, uniforms and surgical equipment for the NHS and hospitals in the Netherlands. Given the increasing emphasis on hospital hygiene, prospects are good. Hold.


Entertainment Rights has built up a substantial back catalogue and portfolio of characters including old favourites such as Postman Pat, Basil Brush and Rupert the Bear. Children's memories are short and the appetite for repeat viewing tends to be high, allowing the content to be aired on television again and again with no real detriment to viewing. Worth a punt.


Investors were nervous about holding BG Group stock ahead of this week's third-quarter results. Shares in the oil and gas producer trade at a hefty premium to the wider sector and had the group missed City forecasts they would have taken a pasting. As it turned out, BG's figures met expectations. Given the company's reserves and the management's track record of delivering growth, the shares are well worth holding.


Shares in food group Cranswick have roared to an all-time high following its purchase of Delico, a producer of pre-packed cooked meats, for £17.9m. The deal gives Cranswick spare capacity, enabling it to take advantage of the 8 per cent growth in the pre-packed market. The shares now trade at a slight premium to its peer group but for a company with an unbroken profit growth record going back to the early 1990s, this is fully justified. Hold.

The above recommendations are taken from the daily Investment Column

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at

Life and Style
Fans line up at the AVNs, straining to capture a photo of their favourite star
life Tim Walker asks how much longer the industry can flesh out an existence
Professor David Nutt wants to change the way gravely ill patients are treated in Britain
people Why does a former Government tsar believe that mind-altering drugs have a place on prescription?
Norway’s ‘The Nordland Line – Minute by Minute, Season by Season’ continues the trend of slow TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jonny Evans has pleaded not guilty to an FA charge for spitting at Papiss Cisse
Life and Style
Kate Moss will make a cameo appearance in David Walliams' The Boy in the Dress
The image released by the Salvation Army, using 'The Dress'
Liverpool defender Kolo Toure
football Defender could make history in the FA Cup, but African Cup of Nations win means he's already content
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Relations Officer

    £13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...

    Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

    Jemma Gent: Project Coordinator

    £12 - £15 Hourly Rate: Jemma Gent: In this role you will report to the Head of...

    Recruitment Genius: Evening Administrator

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established early...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
    Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

    Lost without a trace

    But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
    Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

    Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

    Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
    International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
    Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

    Confessions of a planespotter

    With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
    Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

    Russia's gulag museum

    Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
    The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

    The big fresh food con

    Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
    Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

    Virginia Ironside was my landlady

    Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
    Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

    Paris Fashion Week 2015

    The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
    8 best workout DVDs

    8 best workout DVDs

    If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
    Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

    Paul Scholes column

    I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
    Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
    Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

    Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

    The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable