Bloomsbury half year profits tumble

Weak sales at its children's and educational division weighed on first half profit at publisher Bloomsbury as strong demand for the Harry Potter series dwindles.

Weak sales at its children's and educational division weighed on first half profit at publisher Bloomsbury as strong demand for the Harry Potter series dwindles.

The publisher said pre-tax profit fell to £0.9m in the six month ended August 31st 2012 from £1.5m before. Adjusted pre-tax profit fell to £2.1m compared to £3.3m. Turnover for the interim period increased to £43.5m from £42.4m.

Revenue from children's and educational books, which make up around 22% of total revenue, declined 23% to £9.3m. Continuing operating profit reduced by £0.9m to nil reflecting the reduction in Harry Potter sales compared to last year, which was boosted by the final movie in 2011, the group explained.

Bloomsbury, which has a second half list which includes Hugh's Three Good Things by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, How to Bake by Paul Hollywood, said it is well positioned for stronger book sales over the next six months.

It underlined its confidence by increasing its interim dividend by 6% to 0.94p per share.

Ebook sales were a bright spot, up 89% to £4.5m compared to £2.4m before and new e-reader devices are expected to boost fourth quarter ebook sales.

Chief Executive Nigel Newton said: "Higher ebook sales and academic turnover continue to increase the weighting of our sales to the second half. In addition we have a strong second half list, including potential best sellers, and are targeting a significant number of rights and services contracts."

"We remain well positioned for the future and results continue to show a positive trend over the longer term."

Shares of Bloomsbury fell 6.15% in afternoon trade.

CJ

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