Bloomsbury Publishing is issuing its Interim Management Statement in respect of the period 1 September 2012 to date.
In the four months ended 31 December 2012, Group operating profits from title sales were up year on year because of lower relative costs of production in the new digital environment and a lower returns rate as the proportion of online sales increased, in spite of a 2% decrease in title sales. E-book sales continue to show good momentum growing by 58% year on year, in the four months ended 31 December 2012, particularly in the UK.
The recent expansion of Bloomsbury’s Information division has contributed to an increasing pipeline of Rights & Services contracts. Budgeted income includes £2.7m from contracts scheduled to be completed between now and the year end.
In the Academic & Professional division the sales of Bloomsbury Professional's new online Tax Planner Service, which launched in October 2012, are ahead of projected expectations. The division has also just launched a bespoke e-book platform exclusively for the use of PricewaterhouseCoopers staff around the world to download e-book versions of their various Manual of Accounting titles.
Bloomsbury continues to expand areas of its business in which a significant amount of content has been amassed through the formation of leading online portals or Knowledge Hubs. An example of this in the Academic & Professional division is Drama Online which will be launched in February 2013. This digital academic subscription service will bring together nearly 1000 plays for the first time from Methuen Drama, Arden Shakespeare and Faber.
In the Children's & Educational division Hogwart's Library by J.K. Rowling has performed strongly this quarter. This period also saw the global marketing launch, with augmented reality cover, of Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black which is to be published in February 2013. The new Bloomsbury Activity Books have launched and sold well, with a partnership agreed with Shoo Fly to develop related applications.
At 31 December 2012 the Group had net cash of £7.7m (31 August 2012: £10.6m).
The Company says they will begin to have visibility of post-Christmas returns and the post-Christmas e-book sales over the next six weeks. The results for the 2012/13 financial year they say will be dependent on these and the completion of several contracts under negotiation.
Nigel Newton, Chief Executive of Bloomsbury, commented:
"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.”
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