The dividend accounted for in the six months to 30 June 2019 is the final dividend in respect of 2018 of 13.0p. An interim dividend for 2019 of 6.0p was approved by the Board in July 2019 and will be accounted for in the second half of 2019.
Other financial highlights include:
Underlying revenue up 2% with growth across all three segments
North America up 1%, Core up 6% and Growth up 2%.
Continued momentum in our structural growth opportunities and stabilisation in other parts of the business more than offsets expected declines in US Higher Education Courseware and US Student Assessment.
Strong performance in our structural growth opportunities driven by enrolment growth in Online Program Management (OPM) and Connections Academy, a continuing ramp-up of contracts in the Professional Certification business (VUE) and strong test volumes in Pearson Test of English Academic.
Pearson's sales decreased by 2% in headline terms largely due to disposals of non core businesses.
As in previous years, Pearson's sales and profits are weighted towards the second half of the year.
Adjusted operating profit up 30% in underlying terms
Reflecting sales growth and savings from the 2017-2019 restructuring programme, partially offset by cost inflation and other operational factors.
Strong balance sheet with H1 net debt at £726m (H1 2018: £775m) pre IFRS 16
On a post IFRS 16 basis net debt at the end of H1 2019 was £1,376m.
Interim dividend 6p (H1 2018: 5.5p).
Statutory operating profit from continuing operations was £37m in the first half of 2019 (H1 2018: £233m). The decrease in 2019 is largely due to the lower profit on disposal of businesses and higher restructuring charges in 2019, partly offset by improved trading and additional restructuring savings.
Statutory EPS 6.1p (H1 2018: 24.1p) reflects lower profit on disposal of businesses.
Simplification on track to deliver over £330m annualised cost savings by end of 2019
Incremental cost savings of £60m delivered in the first half.
Completed the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) implementation in the US with over 75% of the company by revenue now operating on a single ERP system.
On track to launch the Global Learning Platform (GLP) and a suite of new digital products over the coming months.
FY 2019 adjusted operating profit guidance unchanged; adjusted EPS upgraded
Continuing to expect Pearson to deliver underlying profit growth and stabilise revenue in 2019, and for revenue to grow in 2020.
For 2019 we are upgrading the adjusted earnings per share guidance to be between 57.5p to 63.0p reflecting improvements in the finance charge and taxation at exchange rates prevailing on 31st December 2018.