London-headquartered media group Pearson has warned that the “exceptional downturn in advertising” following the September 11 attacks will hit its profits.

Pearson has attracted little new ad business in the last month, compounding widespread cancellations in the initial aftermath of the devastation. It cautioned that full-year profits at its FT Group unit could fall by as much as 40% compared with last year, if the downturn continues.

“We are now expecting profits to be significantly below our original plans for the year,” said chief executive Marjorie Scardino, “almost entirely because of the weakness in advertising markets and, to a lesser extent, the technology recession.”

The Pearson-owned Financial Times registered a 40% drop in ad revenues last month, while its other titles saw money generated by advertising “fall significantly”.

News source: BBC Online Business News (UK)