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Bloomsbury Publishing still has the magic touch

Digital revenues were up 15% to £8.9mln but print revenues grew faster, up 16% to £60.1mln

Bloomsbury books
Hands up who wants an illustrated Harry Potter book for Christmas?

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (LON:BMY) still has the magic touch when it comes to children’s books.

The publisher of the Harry Potter books and the novels by Sarah J Maas saw total revenues rise 15% to £72.1mln in the six months to the end of August from £62.7mln in the same period of last year.

READ: Bloomsbury Publishing not just pottering along as strong first half prompts broker upgrade

The company, which invested the revenues from the phenomenal success of the Harry Potter books in expanding its academic publishing business and its digital offering, said revenues from its Consumer division rose 20% to £44.7mln from £37.3mln the year before, driven by Children’s titles, which saw revenues rise 33% to £31.7mln.

Revenues in the Non-consumer division were up 8% to £27.4mln from £25.4mln.

The group’s adjusted profit before tax rose 74% to £2.5mln from £1.5mln the year before.

Net cash rose 85% to £16.9mln from £9.1mln a year earlier.

The interim dividend has been raised 5% to 1.15p from 1.10p.

'It has been a very strong six months for Bloomsbury. Revenues are up 15%, with good growth in each of our territories,” said Nigel Newton, chief executive of Bloomsbury Publishing.

Newton said in the company's interim results statement that the group's trading is in line with expectations.

WATCH: 'It's been a terrific quarter' - Bloomsbury Publishing's Nigel Newton

“We have a strong second half list including the Illustrated Edition of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the Illustrated Edition of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and two major books to accompany the British Library's Harry Potter exhibition, which was launched last Thursday to huge public acclaim,” Newton revealed.

“October is the peak period for academic book sales and Christmas for the sales of consumer books. We therefore expect our results to continue to be second-half weighted, as in past years.

“We have successfully launched two new major digital resources this period and are on track to launch a further two new resources this year, one more than originally planned in the Bloomsbury 2020 growth plan,” he added.

Numis ups stock to 'buy'

Numis Securities upgraded the stock to ‘buy’ from 'add' and nudged up the target price from 205p to 210p.

Although Bloomsbury’s results are traditionally second-half weighted, the first half showing still represented “a very strong performance” in the view of Numis.

Adjusted profit before tax of £2.5mln was well ahead of the £1.4mln Numis had forecast, and the Bloomsbury 2020 digital publishing initiative is “firmly on track”.

In fact, Bloomsbury will launch two new digital resources in the second half of the financial year, which is one more than originally anticipated.

Shares in Bloomsbury were up 1.9% at 164.64p in mid-morning trading.

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Quick facts: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

Price: 206 GBX

Market: LSE
Market Cap: £162.94 m

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