viewBloomsbury Publishing Plc

Bloomsbury Publishing progressing to plan


Here we take a closer look at Bloomsbury Publishing


Quick facts: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

Price: 286 GBX

Market: LSE
Market Cap: £215.44 m

What the company does

Most people who know of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (LON:BMY), probably know it as the Harry Potter publisher.

It doesn’t shy from the soar-away success of JK Rowling’s boy wizard but to see Bloomsbury as a one franchise wonder is to miss the point.

Other major authors include Sarah J Maas, Lisa Taddeo and Lara Maiklem

To see it purely as a fiction publisher is also an error.

Top chef Tom Kerridge has been a huge seller for Bloomsbury in recent years, for instance.

It has two arms:

  • Its consumer division consists of Adult and Children's trade publishing
  • The non-consumer operation is made up of Academic & Professional, Special interest and content services


The finances

For the six months ended 31 August, Bloomsbury's revenue and pre-tax profit before highlighted items were both lower year-on-year at £71.3mln and £2.5mln, respectively.

Cash at the end of the period was £20.1mln, up 15% compared to last year, and the firm hiked its interim dividend by 6% to 1.28p.

December was a busy month for the publisher, having signed a joint venture agreement with state-backed publisher China Youth Publishing Group to expand its business into the Chinese market.

It also acquired London-based drama and play publisher Oberon Books as an addition to its Academic & Professional division.


What the boss says: Nigel Newton, chief executive

"Our strong financial position and good cash generation, with a £3.1 million increase in cash since 31 August 2018, give us significant opportunities for further acquisitions and investment in organic growth."

"With a proposed interim dividend increase of 6%, we are on track to deliver our 25th year of consecutive dividend growth."




What the broker says

Analysts at Peel Hunt, which rate Bloomsbury at a ‘buy’ with a target price of 300p, said that they hoped the new JV will “become a strategically important income stream for the company”.

“China is both a significant and difficult market. Gaining exposure through JV structures is a well-trodden route and seems commercially the most practical way… It will certainly be a way of gaining valuable commercial understanding and experience of this market”, the broker said.


Inflexion points 

  • The dividend has risen for twenty-five years running
  • Roster for second half of 2019 is strong 
  • Cash generation leaves it well placed for acquisitions

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