Pearson Restructures Business As Profits Fall, Direct Line Hit By Home Insurance Division, G4S Board Rejects GardaWorld Offer


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Stack of books on the public library table.

FTSE 100 firm Pearson said the restructuring of its headquarters will cost £ 140 million ($ 193 million) this year, but would lead to annual cost savings of around £ 20 million in the coming years. Photo: Getty

Here are some of the most important business, market and economic stories you should check out today in the UK, Europe and around the world.


Pearson is restructuring the company as profits fall

Educational Publisher Pearson (PSON.L) has announced that it will reduce a significant portion of its office space as part of a major restructuring of the company.

The firm FTSE 100 said the restructuring of its headquarters will cost £ 140 million ($ 193 million) this year, but would lead to annual cost savings of around £ 20 million in the coming years.

It also creates five new divisions in the company: virtual learning; higher education; To learn English; skills of the staff; and assessment and qualifications.

Each division will bear full responsibility for its overheads, product development and operations as it strives to sell directly to consumers.

READ MORE: Turnover at Pearson’s textbook publishing house is declining despite the increase in the number of online courses

“As we change the way we work, we will simplify our real estate portfolio and cover a significantly smaller square foot that will be fully technologically possible and support collaboration and creativity,” he said.

“The resulting strategy, based on a simpler, more flexible business model, focuses on three global market opportunities: the proliferation of online and digital learning resources, the skills gap in the workforce, and the growing demand for accreditation and certification.”

It came as the company posted a 10% drop in underlying revenues for the year amid UK school closures and exam cancellations. However, turnover in the virtual learning department rose by almost a fifth.

Pearson proposed a final dividend of 13.5p, bringing the full year distribution to 19.5p.

Shares were up about 3% on the news.

Pearson's shares rallied Monday despite a drop in annual sales.  Chart: Yahoo Finance

Pearson’s shares rallied Monday despite a drop in annual sales. Chart: Yahoo Finance

Direct line affected by home insurance division

Direct connection (DLG.L) reported a decline in full-year earnings on Monday as weather-related costs weighed on the home insurance division.

The company, whose brands are also Churchill, Green Flag and Privilege, added that national lockdowns caused the number of claims within its auto and commercial books to decline.

Operating profit fell 4.5% to £ 522 million, while pre-tax profit fell 11.4% to £ 451 million as weather costs increased from £ 6 million the year before to £ 43 million.

“The results have been affected by the usual variability around weather conditions, but the addition of the factors around COVID-19 makes them more difficult to navigate than in previous years,” said Direct Line.

READ MORE: How to get the best price for your car insurance

Direct Line said it would buy back up to £ 100 million in shares and announced a final dividend of 14.7p.

William Ryder, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “There is still a way to go here so that shareholders can see more special payouts in the future. That depends, of course, on a smooth recovery as conditions normalize. But general insurance is tough. market to do well, so Direct Line’s recovery plan will have to pay off if the group is to profit. ”

European stock markets opened higher on Monday Confidence from the UK business community reached a 12-month high in hopes of economic recovery.

The FTSE 100 (^ FTSE) climbed 0.45% after the bell, while the CAC (^ FCHI) jumped 0.46% and the DAX (^ GDAXI) was 0.57% higher, after hitting a record high last week.

According to the latest Business Trends report from accounting and business consultancy BDO, the optimism index for services rose 7.53 points to 94.13 in February as the number of Britons vaccinated against COVID-19 continued to rise.

The growth of the index, which spans a range of industries from retail and hospitality to professional services, suggests that many companies had expected a significant return to normalcy even before the UK government set its lockdown roadmap late last month.

It came after the Senate approved the latest US $ 1.9 trillion stimulus program last weekend, lifting hopes for a gradual global recovery.

WATCH: The $ 1.9 Trillion Aid Package is going back to House

The G4S board rejects GardaWorld’s offer

The board of G4S (GFS.L) has unanimously rejected a final takeover offer from GardaWorld.

GardaWorld, which has extended the acceptance deadline for its offer, received only 0.06% shareholder acceptances.

Garda and rival bidder Allied Universal have both recently entered an auction lawsuit for outsourcer G4S, but both companies were firmly on their bid.

In a brief update, the company said, “The G4S board of directors unanimously recommends that shareholders accept Allied Universal’s superior final offer of 245 pence per share, and to ensure the successful completion of Allied Universal’s offer, it urges to G4S shareholders to accept immediately. “

On Monday, Garda said the offer will run until March 16.

WATCH: What UK Government COVID-19 Support Is Available?

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