(Adds Bloomsbury chairman interview comments and share price)
LONDON (AFX) - Bloomsbury Pu
blishing PLC, which publishes the Harry Potter books, reported a 3.5 pct rise in half-year profit, helped by strong growth in the United States and Germany, and said current trading was in line with its expectations for the full year.
'The group's publishing programme for the second half of the year is one of the strongest to date and includes books from some of our best-selling authors and potential bestsellers from new authors,' Bloomsbury chairman Nigel Newton said in a statement.
'The second half has started well with trading in line with our expectations, and the board remains confident of a satisfactory outcome to the year.'
Bloomsbury's autumn publication list includes a new book by author Richard Ford, a book of political speeches by UK chancellor Gordon Brown, a food book by TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, and an autobiography of boxer Amir Khan.
The London-based publisher, which also publishes the Schott's Miscellany trivia books, said pretax profit for the six months to June 30 was 4.2 mln stg compared to the 4.3 mln stg consensus forecast, and up from 4.0 mln the year earlier.
Revenue rose 6.5 pct to 37.6 mln stg and Bloomsbury raised its dividend by 10 pct to to 0.66 pence per share.
Profit was lifted by strong growth in Bloomsbury's United States business, which increased sales by 46 pct -- helped by continued strong sales of Man Booker prize winner, The Line of Beauty.
Bloomsbury's German business increased sales by 24 pct.
Bloomsbury published its first pre-school books series in the first half, while the paperback version of the penultimate Harry Potter book -- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince -- was an international bestseller when it was released in June.
Bloomsbury has said that the seventh and final book in the Harry Potter series will likely be published in 2007.
Bloomsbury, which is investing in its non-fiction film, music and film titles to help it grow after the final Harry Potter book is released, said it will publish four titles this autumn to tie in with a big children's film, Open Season.
Investec Securities analyst Malcolm Morgan said he was encouraged by Bloomsbury's increased investment in its authors, adding that the company has good prospects over the next 18 months.
At 9.20 am Bloomsbury shares were unchanged at 322 pence, valuing the company at 235 mln stg.
Bloomsbury has around 30 mln stg available for acquisitions to help it grow and in an interview with AFX News Newton said Bloomsbury is 'considering a number of possibilities' for acquisitions to boost its core children's fiction and reference businesses in the UK, US and Germany.
Newton declined to reveal further details on possible acquisitions.
COPYRIGHT Copyright AFX News Limited 2005. All rights reserved. The copying, republication or redistribution of AFX News Content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of AFX News. AFX News and AFX Financial News Logo are registered trademarks of AFX News Limited
Datafeed and UK data supplied by NETbuilder and Interactive Data.
While London South East do their best to maintain the high quality of the information displayed on this site,
we cannot be held responsible for any loss due to incorrect information found here. All information is provided free of charge, 'as-is', and you use it at your own risk!
The contents of all 'Chat' messages should not be construed as advice and represent the opinions of the authors, not those of London South East Limited, or its affiliates.
London South East does not authorise or approve this content, and reserves the right to remove items at its discretion.