New titles lift prospects for publisher Penguin

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New books by Bridget Jones’s Diary author Helen Fielding and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver will help publishing giant Penguin Random House grab more market share this year, its joint-owner said yesterday.

Pearson, which also owns the Financial Times and the Economist, said Penguin had 48 UK best-sellers including John le Carre’s A Delicate Truth and a Margaret Thatcher biography during the first half of the year, helping it beat tough markets.

Despite a 27 per cent surge in profits at Penguin, Pearson’s profits fell by more than a quarter to £137 million during the first six months of the year on tough trading in its education business and restructuring charges.

Penguin joined Random House earlier this month to create the world’s biggest consumer publisher, leaving Pearson holding 47 per cent of the enlarged group and German group Bertelsmann owning the balance.

They beat competition concerns to form a venture behind 15,000 new titles a year and employing more than 10,000 staff around the globe.

Penguin earned Pearson £28m in adjusted operating profits, up from £22m a year earlier, although Pearson’s share of future profits will now fall.

Underlying group sales increased 2 per cent and were up 5 per cent at constant currency to £2.8 billion.