Friday, February 08, 2008

Hachette Reports

Lagardère the French conglomerate that owns the book publishing unit Hachette published their full year results yesterday. They reported group revenues up 8.5% over the prior year and 3.3% up on an apples to apples basis. The wide disparity was due to the full year inclusion of the Time Warner Publishing Group (now Grand Central) in the current year's numbers. This is a widely dispersed conglomerate but the news report did carve out the publishing unit for praise as follows:

Publishing (formerly the Books division) – Excellent quarter in virtually all the countries in which we operate. Sales were particularly robust in the United Kingdom, driven by a raft of successful fiction and non-fiction titles. The very strong growth in the United States since January 2007 was maintained. In France, Literature and Illustrated Books both ended the year strongly.

For the full year they reported the following:

Revenues reached €2,130m (up 8.6% on a reported basis), including an extra quarter of sales from the Time Warner Book Group (impact: €80m), which in 2006 was consolidated from April 1.On a like-for-like basis, an excellent final quarter propelled full-year revenue growth to 4.7%, versus 3.0% to end September 2007.In the United Kingdom, the year ended with a surge in sales. The group published 7 of the top 10 Christmas non-fiction best-sellers (including Bobby Charlton, Russell Brand and Al Murray), and 5 of the top 10 fiction titles (including Martina Cole and Patricia Cornwell).In the United States, the strong growth seen since the start of the year continued, driven by best-sellers (including Patterson, Baldacci, Hitchens and Meyer) and healthy backlist sales. In France, the fourth quarter was boosted by a fine contribution from Literature, thanks to authors such as Simone Veil and Philippe Claudel. Illustrated Books also enjoyed solid year-end sales.In Spain, sales are traditionally sluggish in the final quarter. Over 2007 as a whole, Spain recorded further strong growth not only in Education, but also in General Publishing and Children’s Books.Finally, Part-Works ended the year well, with steady sales growth in Italy, the United Kingdom and Japan.

In related French publishing news, France's number two publisher Editis has been placed on the block by its private equity owner Wendel. (Reuters) The company is said to be worth approximately €900mm. Spanish publisher Planeta and Italy's Mondadori were immediately suggested as potential purchasers. The following is from their corporate web page:

With 2400 employees and about 40 publishing imprints, Editis holds leading positions in three segments of the publishing business, in particular Literature (trade and mass market formats), Education (scholarly, scholastic aids, middle school, high school, university, legal and medical), and Reference (dictionaries and encyclopedias), as well as in the field of publishing services (promotion and distribution). Prestigious publishers and efficient group-wide services have made Editis number two in the world of French publishing and a major player in Europe. Editis has a clearly stated objective: to strengthen its position on the French market, to continue its growth, and to expand its influence throughout the French-speaking world.

I have noted Editis once before. On their web site they offer their take on the future of the book/reading experience. It is in French but none the less interesting. Here.

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