Regulatory announcements

Audited Preliminary Results for the year ended 28 February 2021

02 June 2021

Excellent revenue and profit performance
Third profit upgrade
Special dividend declared

Bloomsbury, the leading independent publisher, today announces audited results for the year ended 28 February 2021, ahead of expectations.

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

“The popularity of reading has been a ray of sunshine in an otherwise very dark year.  In an outstanding year for Bloomsbury, we delivered record results with sales up 14% to £185.1 million compared to the industry which was up 2%1. Our profit before tax and highlighted items4 of £19.2 million showed an increase of 22% over the prior year. These results are ahead of expectations and represent our third upgrade this year. These performances demonstrate the strength and resilience of our strategy of publishing for both the general and academic market.

Our Consumer division delivered a stellar performance, with profit before tax and highlighted items4 up by 61% to £14.2 million, including excellent revenue growth of 22% across the Adult and Children’s divisions. Our diverse Consumer portfolio included backlist titles which really struck a chord with readers throughout the pandemic on themes such as humanity, social inclusion, escapism, fantasy, cookery and baking.

In our Non-Consumer division, Bloomsbury Digital Resources achieved phenomenal growth of 49%, with £12.4 million revenue. Our academic digital growth also significantly outperformed the UK market, with our digital resource strategy, conceived six years ago, ahead of and benefitting from the structural shift to online learning.

In light of our strong financial position and cash generation, and the importance of delivering attractive shareholder returns in accordance with our dividend policy, the Board proposes an increase of 10% to our final dividend2. The Board greatly appreciates the support of our shareholders during such unprecedented circumstances last year, and we are also proposing a special dividend of 9.78 pence per share. 

Since the year end, we have achieved another key step in the delivery of our long term growth strategy expanding our Non-Consumer business, with the acquisition of the Red Globe Press list. Acquiring these complementary lists accelerates our digital growth and our significant presence in humanities and social sciences academic publishing.

Considering the ongoing momentum and strength of our business, Bloomsbury expects revenue to be ahead and profit to be comfortably ahead of market expectations for the year ended 28 February 20223.

I would like to express my thanks to our staff, authors, illustrators, printers, distributors and suppliers for their outstanding work and profound resilience over the last year. Our ability to adapt to the rapidly changing conditions, together with the strength of our strategy supported by our strong financial position, has enabled Bloomsbury to emerge even stronger from this crisis and deliver this excellent performance.”

 

 

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Financial Highlights

  • Revenues increased by 14% to £185.1 million (2019/20: £162.8 million)
  • Profit before taxation and highlighted items4 grew by 22% to £19.2 million, up from £15.7 million in 2019/20
  • Profit before taxation grew by 31% to £17.3 million (2019/20: £13.2 million)
  • Diluted earnings per share, excluding highlighted items4, grew by 15% to 18.68 pence (2019/20: 16.23 pence)5
  • ·        Diluted earnings per share grew by 25% to 16.71 pence (2019/20: 13.40 pence)5
  • Net cash of £54.5 million at 28 February 2021, up 74% (2020: £31.3 million)
  • Cash conversion of 142% (2019/20: 111%)
  • Final dividend of 7.58 pence per share (2020: bonus issue with a value equivalent to 6.89 pence per share2)
  • Special dividend of 9.78 pence per share

 

Operational Highlights

Consumer Division

  • Outstanding Consumer revenue growth of 22% to £118.3 million (2019/20: £96.8 million)
  • Consumer profit before taxation and highlighted items4 increased by 61% to £14.2 million (2019/20: £8.9 million)
  • Very strong Adult Trade performance, with revenue up 17% to £43.7 million (2019/20: £37.4 million) and profit before taxation and highlighted items4 up 145% to £3.9 million (2019/20: £1.6 million)
  • Excellent Children’s Trade performance, with revenue growth of 26% to £74.6 million (2019/20: £59.4 million) and profit before taxation and highlighted items3 up 42% to £10.4 million (2019/20: £7.3 million)
  • Sales of Sarah J. Maas’ titles grew by 129% and Harry Potter sales grew by 7%
  • Appointment of Ian Hudson as Managing Director, Consumer Publishing, and Paul Baggaley, Editor-in-Chief, Adult Consumer Publishing; an industry leading team to drive our ambitious growth plans

 

Non-Consumer Division

  • Resilient Non-Consumer performance, with revenue growth of 1% to £66.8 million (2019/20: £66.0 million)
  • Non-Consumer profit before taxation and highlighted items4 of £5.4 million (2019/20: £6.7 million)
  • Bloomsbury Digital Resources (“BDR”) revenues growth of 49% to £12.4 million (2019/20: £8.3 million) and profit of £2.9 million (2019/20: £0.7 million)
  • Digital format sales now comprise 33% of Non-Consumer revenues, a CAGR of 31% over four years
  • Good Academic & Professional performance, with revenue growth of 3% to £44.3 million (2019/20: £43.1 million) and profit before taxation and highlighted items4 of £4.3 million (2019/20: £4.8 million)
  • Acquisition of Red Globe Press’ assets in April 2021 for £3.7 million, accelerating our digital growth and our significant presence in humanities and social sciences academic publishing
  • Voted Academic Publisher of the Year at the 2021 British Book Awards
  • BDR partnerships with Taylor & Francis and Human Kinetics launched and new partnerships with Yale University Press, Liverpool University Press and the Stratford Festival


Notes

1 Publishers Association: 2020 UK market up 2% year-on-year.

2 2019/20: bonus issue in lieu of, and with a value equivalent to, proposed final dividend of 6.89 pence per share.

3 The Board considers current consensus market expectation for the year ending 28 February 2022 to be revenue of £177.5 million and profit before taxation and highlighted items of £17.4 million.

4 Highlighted items comprise amortisation of acquired intangible assets, legal and other professional costs relating to ongoing and completed acquisitions and restructuring costs, and a grant under the US Government Paycheck Protection Program.

5 Restatement of earnings per share due to bonus issue of shares in the year.


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 / Rebekah Chapman [email protected]


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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Preliminary announcement for the year ended 28 February 2021