Shares in Pearson were up on the FTSE 100 in morning trading after the publisher and owner of the Financial Times, reported a rise in sales and pre-tax profit in the full year 2010.

Group sales increased ten per cent in the period to £5.7 billion, while pre-tax profit rose 28 per cent to £670 million.

Following the results Pearson said it would be increasing its dividend nine per cent to 38.7 pence per share.

Pearson said that it had managed to slash its net debt by 61 per cent in the period to £430 million.

Pearson's North American Education division saw sales rise seven per cent to £2.6 billion, while the International Education division reported a rise in sales of 19 per cent to £1.2 billion.

The group's Professional division saw sales increase 21 per cent to £333 million, Financial Times reported a rise in sales of 13 per cent to £403 million, while Penguin saw sales climb five per cent to £1.1 billion.

Marjorie Scardino, Chief Executive of Pearson, said, "These numbers add up to another excellent year for Pearson. More important than that, they indicate the changing shape and nature of our company: more digital, more efficient, more exposed to fast-growing economies, more focussed on all kinds of learning. Our markets will be tough again this year, but we have a proven formula built on investment, innovation and efficiency which we are using to accelerate change in our company and in our markets."

Keith Bowman, Equity Analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, commented, "Despite a detailed January trading update, earnings have again surprised on the upside. Growth over 2010 has been driven by ongoing investment in the group's digital education channels, supplemented by a push into the Emerging Markets and a business disposal. Management continues to attack the cost of delivering its services, whilst difficult job markets, particularly in the US, are encouraging the continuation of education. Furthermore, in highly uncertain economic times, respected financial comment remains greatly sought after, a fact helping to drive subscription services for the company's FT newspaper division.

"On the downside, yet to be implemented US government spending cuts provide some uncertainty, while foreign exchange volatility and difficulties in the book retailing arena - Borders' recent bankruptcy - provide further question marks.

"In all, positive management outlook comments, backed by a 9pc increase in the dividend policy, underwrite favourable investment sentiment. However, ongoing uncertainties and more limited cyclical advertising upside when compared to rivals currently confines market consensus opinion to just a hold."

By 11:00 shares in Pearson were up 0.77 per cent on the FTSE 100 to 1,049.00 pence per share.