Bloomsbury Publishing lifts operating profit



LONDON (ShareCast) - London based publishing house Bloomsbury Publishing (LSE: BMY.L - news) said operating profit from title sales rose year-on-year during the four months ended December 31st 2012, despite a two per cent fall in title sales.

Operating profit was boosted by lower relative costs, a lower returns rate and as online sales increased, the publisher explained.

Key title sales during the period came from Paul Hollywood's How to Bake, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Three Good Things and J.K.Rowling's Hogwarts Library.

E-book sales powered ahead year on year, up 58% in the four-month period, with particularly strong growth in the UK.

Bloomsbury said the recent expansion of its Information division has contributed to an increasing pipeline of Rights & Services contracts. Budgeted income includes £2.7m from contracts scheduled to complete between now and the year-end.

"We will begin to have visibility of post-Christmas returns and the important post-Christmas e-book sales over the next six weeks," the group said.

"The results for our 2012/13 financial year will be dependent on these and the completion of several contracts under negotiation."

The group had net cash of £7.7m at the end of December compared to £10.6m at the end of August 2012.

Nigel Newton, Chief Executive of Bloomsbury added: "We are making good progress on many fronts during the transition of the market towards more digital sales. E-book sales are showing strong momentum and we are greatly encouraged by the potential of our online Knowledge Hubs where we have some large deals in progress."

"Bloomsbury is a robust business, well adapted to the challenges of changing publishing trends and the increasing prominence of the digital market place. Our business is underpinned by an extremely strong author list and we are entering the new financial year with new books by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love and Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, two of the world's best selling authors."