For this year, we're confident that, except in the most extreme political and
economic conditions, we can deliver further significant earnings growth, even at
current exchange rates, and also further cash and an increasing return on
capital. And we're confident we can go on to sustain annual progress on all
three measures, working hard, task by task, day by day. Where will we be
exerting our 99% perspiration?
We'll allocate our resources first to our markets that are
growing the fastest: higher education, English language teaching, children's
publishing, testing, governments as customers, investors who need our data and
pricing help in an unpredictable market.
We'll also invest to take advantage of our franchise and market share where we
see our competitors are weakened by the environment. This is especially true in
our business newspapers. Of course we'll make these investments carefully, but
no franchise can continue - even one a century old - without nourishment.
Growing our own
Now that we have all the right parts in our company, we plan to rely more on our
ingenuity than on acquisitions for new products and services. So we'll be
working to create some for existing brands and to customise some. Customisation
is already booming in our education business, where professors want their own
unique books. It also works for FT.com subscribers who want their investments
monitored, or their data fed to them their way. Organic investment means we will
also have to be even more disciplined in our allocation of assets - not shying
away from taking risks, but taking those with the most reliable and enduring
We started on this last year. We've been pretty good at getting integration
benefits from our acquisitions - we've always done better, faster than planned.
Now we do that with our existing companies as well, sharing processes and back
offices and efficiencies of all kinds; improving sales efforts and marketing
ideas thanks to the expertise of one part of the company teaching another.