“We have had a good first half performance, particularly, in the UK Adult and Specialist Divisions. As well as continuing to enjoy notable success from long-running bestselling titles such as The Kite Runner, we are also well positioned with strong publishing lists for the second half and beyond. We are now seeing the benefits of our focused strategy, which is positioning us well for the rest of the financial year and the longer term.”Other points from the press release:
- Profit before investment income increased 6.1% to £3.5m (2007, £3.3m)
- Investment income increased to £1.9m (2007, £0.6m)
- Earnings per share increased 41.2% to 4.97 pence (2007, 3.52 pence)
- Interim dividend up 7.1% to 0.75p per share (2007, 0.70p)
- Strong list for second half including Alice Schroeder’s biography of Warren Buffet; The Snowball; Just Me by Sheila Hancock; The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer; and, on December 4, JK Rowling’s The Tales of Beedle The Bard
- Net cash balances increased by 13.0% to £53.8m (31 December 2007, £47.6m)
- Well positioned for further organic and acquisition-related growth
- Strongest ever first six months sales performance from the UK Adult trade division
Newton in further comments noted that:
The programme of digitising our entire English language catalogue has been completed. This will enable us to increase significantly the range of electronic products we can offer both to individual buyers and to resellers serving the library and institutional markets, where we have already made encouraging sales of e-book collections. Digitisation also enables us to make our titles more easily available as print on demand (“POD”), a particularly appropriate model for specialist publishing where a wide range of titles are sold in small numbers consistently over a long period of time. In addition to digitising the in-print backlist, we are engaged in an active process of digitising out of print titles in order to offer them POD and in a variety of electronic formats.
Bloomsbury intends to expand the academic part of its Specialist Publishing Division and a number of acquisitions under consideration. We have appointed Jonathan Glasspool as Managing Director of Bloomsbury Academic. The recent growth of the Methuen Drama list, many titles of which sell to higher education students and lecturers, illustrates how well Bloomsbury can reach the academic and higher education markets.
Our sharing of copyrights across the Atlantic and other initiatives have resulted in a considerable year-on-year improvement in the results of Bloomsbury USA, with sales growth of 10% and a 60% reduction in operating losses.