Regulatory announcements

Trading significantly ahead of upgraded expectations

24 March 2021

Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (LSE: BMY), the leading independent publisher, today gives a further year-end trading update for the 12 months ending 28 February 2021.

Bloomsbury announces that revenue is expected to be ahead and profit significantly ahead of upgraded market expectations* for the year ending 28 February 2021. This surpasses the guidance provided in our statement on 29 January 2021.

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

“The popularity of reading during lockdown is a ray of sunshine in an otherwise very dark last year. February, the final month of our financial year, saw an exceptional sales performance for Bloomsbury as the surge in reading continued. We do not yet know how consumer behaviour will change as academic institutions, shops and leisure activities re-open and whether this popularity will continue as restrictions are lifted.

We are confident, though, in the underlying strength of our business, the quality of our titles and content and our long-term strategy. Our medium and long-term expectations remain unchanged.

I would like to express my thanks to the staff, authors, illustrators, printers, distributors and suppliers for their profound resilience over the last year.”

Consumer

This second upgrade follows exceptional February trading in the Consumer division, for both Adult and Children’s publishing. Sarah J. Maas’ new novel, A Court of Silver Flames, which was published on 16 February 2021, is a global bestseller, achieving number one in both the New York Times and The Times bestseller lists. Other frontlist bestsellers included Outlawed (published 5 January 2021), We Are Bellingcat (published 4 February 2021) and Piranesi, winner of Audiobook of the Year 2021. Strong backlist sales continued, in particular of Harry Potter, Sarah J. Maas, Song of Achilles and Dishoom.

Non-Consumer

The success of our strategy for Bloomsbury Digital Resources (“BDR”) to develop digital academic content has enabled us to benefit from the increased demand for remote access to learning materials by academic institutions. Our fast-growing content portfolio and increased discovery has accelerated individual title purchasing through the Bloomsbury Collections platform, and the increased demand for video streaming has driven growth for Drama Online. BDR is well positioned to further benefit from the growing trend for digital learning.

Balance Sheet

Bloomsbury’s financial position is strong with net cash of £54 million at 28 February 2021. The Company continues to assess opportunities to invest this cash balance to deliver attractive shareholder returns, which include organic investment initiatives and acquisitions of companies and lists to accelerate our strategic growth ambitions.

Bloomsbury has repaid the £63,000 of UK government furlough funding received and has not received or applied for any further UK government support. We have also repaid the temporary salary reductions for staff, taken for three months in the first half of the financial year.

We will provide further details on all matters raised with our preliminary results in June 2021.

Bloomsbury also announces that Leslie-Ann Reed will become the Senior Independent Director at the conclusion of the AGM taking place in July 2021, when John Warren will step down from the Board, as previously announced. **

* The Board considers current consensus market expectation for the year ending 28 February 2021 to be revenue of £171.0 million and profit before taxation and highlighted items of £14.8 million.

** This statement is made in accordance with paragraph 9.6.11(2) of the Listing Rules.

 

 

For further information, please contact:

Bloomsbury Publishing Plc  
Nigel Newton, Chief Executive [email protected]
Penny Scott-Bayfield, Group Finance Director [email protected]
Hudson Sandler +44 (0) 20 7796 4133
Dan de Belder / Rebekah Chapman [email protected]

The information contained within this announcement is deemed by the Group to constitute inside information as stipulated under the Market Abuse Regulations (EU) No. 596/2014 ("MAR"). Upon the publication of this announcement via a Regulatory Information Service ("RIS"), this inside information is now considered to be in the public domain.

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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