Bloomsbury hangs its hopes on Harry and Winston appeal

Publisher Bloomsbury is banking on the relaunch of the Harry Potter series to tie in with the keenly-awaited movie of the final book to boost its performance, after interim profits almost halved.

Pre-tax profits fell 47.3 per cent to 949,000, although underlying earnings rose 8 per cent.

The second half is traditionally a stronger period and Bloomsbury said a number of releases were in the pipeline, including Harry Potter books in new jackets in November, as well as a repackaged Wombles series and Man Booker Prize-listed novel The Finkler Question.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It also revealed a recent deal to digitise and publish Sir Winston Churchill's papers in electronic form. Bloomsbury will publish 2,500 archival boxes of the wartime prime minister's letters, telegrams, manuscripts and photographs in 2012, after striking a deal with the Churchill Archive Trust.

A tough second quarter, dominated by uncertainties surrounding the general election and emergency Budget, dragged the firm's interim results lower after a buoyant first quarter.

Overall, sales rose 4.2 per cent thanks, in part, to the success of Ben Macintyre's best-seller spy story Operation Mincemeat.

Revenues in the UK rose 12.6 per cent, largely as a result of the group's takeover of professional and academic publisher Tottel last year. Revenues rose 2.3 per cent in the US, but plunged 34 per cent in Europe.

Bloomsbury said it was looking to make further acquisitions in "strategically important areas". It is also launching in Australia next January to target a market it describes as "one of the most exciting and innovative".

Shares closed the day unchanged at 112p.

Related topics: