Regulatory announcements

Unaudited Preliminary Results for the year ended 29 February 2020

20 May 2020

Strong Non-Consumer profit growth and delivery of diversified strategy
Strengthened balance sheet and improved liquidity

Bloomsbury, the leading independent publisher, today announces unaudited results for the year ended 29 February 2020, in line with expectations.

Commenting on the results, Nigel Newton, Chief Executive, said:

“I am pleased to report a year of further progress at Bloomsbury resulting in 9% growth in profit before tax and highlighted items. Our Non-Consumer division delivered an excellent result with profit before tax and highlighted items up by 85% to £6.7 million, including outstanding revenue growth of 32% from Bloomsbury Digital Resources, which moved into profit this year, and the Adult Consumer division achieved 77% growth in profit before tax and highlighted items. These performances demonstrate the underlying strength and resilience of our diversified, international strategy.

Over the past five years, the successful execution of this strategy has delivered Company revenue growth of 32% and profit before tax and highlighted items growth of 21%, with digital revenue as a proportion of total revenue increasing from 10% to 15%.

Since the year end, the coronavirus pandemic has led to significant disruption across all our key markets. The impact may be substantial. Orders for print books, which comprised 79% of the Company’s revenue for the year ended 29 February 2020, are being affected in all our markets. Our UK, US and Australia warehouses remain open and continue supply to customers. Our strategy of expanding and leveraging our digital rights and products means that we are well placed to benefit from increased demand for our digital resources, audio and e-books.  

There is no immediate certainty around the severity and duration of the impact on our business and therefore the Board is unable to provide guidance for the year ending 28 February 2021 at this time.

In response to the pandemic, the Board has taken swift measures to strengthen Bloomsbury’s balance sheet and increase liquidity to ensure we have sufficient working capital to weather the impact of coronavirus and avoid damaging our business in the long-term.

I would like to thank our staff, authors, illustrators and suppliers for their resilience and determination over a challenging period. Their ability to adapt to the rapidly changing conditions, together with the strength of our strategy supported by our solid financial position, gives me confidence that Bloomsbury will emerge stronger from this crisis.”



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Financial Highlights

  • Profit before taxation and highlighted items* grew by 9% to £15.7 million, up from £14.4 million in 2018/19
  • Revenues increased to £162.8 million (2018/19: £162.7 million) despite the impact of coronavirus on our Chinese sales in January and February
  • Profit before taxation grew by 10% to £13.2 million (2018/19: £12.0 million)
  • Diluted earnings per share, excluding highlighted items*, grew by 12% to 16.77p (2018/19: 14.97p)
  • Diluted earnings per share grew by 13% to 13.84p (2018/19: 12.25p)
  • Net cash of £31.3 million at 29 February 2020, up 14% (2018: £27.6 million)
  • Cash conversion of 96% (2018/19: 128%), excluding the acquisition of the rights of Oberon Books Ltd (“Oberon”)
  • Subject to shareholder approval, proposed bonus issue, in lieu of, and with a value equivalent to, proposed final dividend of 6.89p per share

Operational Highlights 
Non-Consumer Division 

  • Excellent Academic & Professional performance, with profit before taxation and highlighted items* up by 58% to £4.8 million (2018/19: £3.0 million) and revenue up 4%
  • Non-Consumer profit before taxation and highlighted items* up by 85% to £6.7 million and revenues grew by 4% to £66.0 million (2018/19: £63.4 million)
  • Non-Consumer profit before taxation grew by 159% to £5.0 million (2018/19: £1.9 million)
  • Bloomsbury Digital Resources (“BDR”) revenues up 32% to £8.3 million and moves into profit
  • Digital format sales now comprise 22% of Non-Consumer revenues, a CAGR of 18% over four years
  • Acquisition of Oberon’s rights in December 2019 completed for £1.2 million, strengthening our digital resources with its high quality drama IP
  • BDR partnerships with Human Kinetics launched and Taylor & Francis in development as well as the new National Theatre collection included in Drama Online

Consumer Division

  • Profit before taxation and highlighted items* of £8.9 million (2018/19: £10.7 million)
  • Consumer revenue of £96.8 million (2018/19: £99.3 million)
  • Strong Adult Trade performance, with revenue up 12% to £37.4 million (2018/19: £33.5 million) and profit before taxation and highlighted items* of £1.6 million (2018/19: £0.9 million)
  • Children’s Trade delivered profit before taxation and highlighted items* of £7.3 million (2018/19: £9.8 million) and revenue of £59.4 million (2018/19: £65.8 million)
  • Resilient sales of Harry Potter titles, in line with last year
  • Children’s revenue affected by the timing of and fewer frontlist titles from Sarah J Maas
  • Excellent audio performance from our new Audio division, with an expert team delivering 190% revenue growth by focusing on production of key titles and delivering bestsellers
  • Appointment of Paul Baggaley as Editor-In-Chief of Bloomsbury Adult, one of the most highly regarded figures in the industry who joined us from Macmillan in March 2020


* Highlighted items comprise amortisation of acquired intangible assets and legal, other professional costs and restructuring costs relating to ongoing and completed acquisitions and one-off costs relating to the coronavirus.


For further information, please contact:

Bloomsbury Publishing Plc  
Nigel Newton, Chief Executive
Penny Scott-Bayfield, Group Finance Director
[email protected]
[email protected]

Hudson Sandler +44 (0) 20 7796 4133
Dan de Belder / Hattie Dreyfus [email protected]


The information in this announcement has not been audited or otherwise independently verified and no representation or warranty, express or implied, is made as to, and no reliance should be placed on, the fairness, accuracy, completeness or correctness of the information or opinions contained herein. None of the Company or any of its affiliates, advisors or representatives shall have any liability whatsoever (in negligence or otherwise) for any loss whatsoever arising from any use of this announcement, or its contents, or otherwise arising in connection with this announcement.

This announcement does not constitute or form part of any offer or invitation to sell, or any solicitation of any offer to purchase any shares in the Company, nor shall it or any part of it or the fact of its distribution form the basis of, or be relied on in connection with, any contract or commitment or investment decisions relating thereto, nor does it constitute a recommendation regarding the shares of the Company.

Certain statements, statistics and projections in this announcement are or may be forward looking. By their nature, forward‑looking statements involve a number of risks, uncertainties or assumptions that may or may not occur and actual results or events may differ materially from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Accordingly, no assurance can be given that any particular expectation will be met and reliance should not be placed on any forward-looking statement. Accordingly, forward-looking statements contained in this announcement regarding past trends or activities should not be taken as representation that such trends or activities will continue in the future. You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which are based on the knowledge and information available only at the date of this announcement’s preparation.

The Company does not undertake any obligation to update or keep current the information contained in this announcement, including any forward‑looking statements, or to correct any inaccuracies which may become apparent and any opinions expressed in it are subject to change without notice.

References in this announcement to other reports or materials, such as a website address, have been provided to direct the reader to other sources of information on Bloomsbury Publishing Plc which may be of interest. Neither the content of Bloomsbury’s website nor any website accessible by hyperlinks from Bloomsbury’s website nor any additional materials contained or accessible thereon, are incorporated in, or form part of, this announcement.



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