Bloomsbury Publishing books continue to fly off the shelves


Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (LON:BMY), the Harry Potter publisher, reported that books continue to fly off the shelves in the first four months of its financial year.

Revenues of GBP63.1mln in the period to the end of June were up 28% on this time last year, with consumer titles growing 26% and non-consumer 31%.

Management expects the full-year performance to be in line with current market expectations, with analysts having pencilled in GBP193.4mln of revenue and GBP19.3mln of profit before tax and exceptional items.

In consumer, children’s books continued to lead the way, up 32% as the JK Rowling series continues to prove evergreen.

Given an extra boost by the acquisition of Head of Zeus in early June, consumer books for adults grew 17%, with bestsellers including Tom Kerridge’s Outdoor Cooking, Sarah J Maas’ A Court of Silver Flames and Lisa Taddeo’s Animal.

Non-consumer sales were also strengthened by the June acquisition of Red Globe Press, which helped top up academic and professional growth to 35%, though this was mainly driven by continued strong demand for Bloomsbury Digital Resources which was 41% ahead of last year. Special interest revenue rose 23%.

“We are actively targeting further acquisition opportunities in line with our long-term growth strategy,” the company said in the statement.

The shares were thumbed 3% higher to 361.37p by late morning on Wednesday.

Broker Peel Hunt said that, having upgraded profit forecasts in June by 9% for the current year and 7% for next year, it is leaving forecasts unchanged today, “but the tone is robust and the potential for upgrades later in the year has increased”.

Analysts added: “We are long-term fans of Bloomsbury. It has strength in diversity (of subject, route to market, territory). It is a huge store of value in its library of publishing rights. And it has cash to fund dividends (the special dividend announced with the prelims is indicative of this) and to fund acquisitions. The company has progressively rerated at the success of the strategy became apparent both before and during the pandemic.”

The broker kept its ‘add’ recommendation and 385p target price.


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