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Bloomsbury Publishing takes decisive action to weather the coronavirus lockdown

It is raising an additional £8.4mln via a share placing as well as making cost cuts and cancelling the dividend

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC -

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (LON:BMY) has said it is taking a number of actions to protect the business following the coronavirus lockdown, including the sale of shares to bring in a gross £8.4mln.

The group has also pushed out the maturity of its bank facility by a year to May 2022, it has made a series of economies, including salary cuts, saving an initial £1.6mln a month, and has cancelled the dividend.

The group, which had net cash of £31mln as at the end of February, said it was unable at this stage to give forward guidance.

However, the company said its “prudent downside scenario” assumes a 75% decline in print revenues and gradual retailer re-openings to recovery in January 2021.

There were some green shoots in the form of strong digital growth from academic customers. Sales prospects are coming through Amazon, supermarkets remain open and there has been a strong recovery in orders from China, the publisher added.

“Our strategy of expanding and leveraging our digital rights and products means that we are well placed to benefit from increased demand for our digital resources, audio and e-books as we are with direct supply from Amazon, Bloomsbury.com, Waterstones.com and most internet retailers selling print books,” the company explained in its statement.

The £8.4mln City fundraiser saw a total of 3,766,428 shares, representing 5.0% of the company's existing issued share capital, placed by Investec Bank at a price of 223.25p each.

The placing price was a 5% discount to Bloomsbury's mid-market closing share price on Thursday. In lunchtime trade on Friday, the stock was changing hands at 225p each, down 4.25%.

 -- Adds placing result, share price --

Quick facts: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

Price: 210 GBX

Market: LSE
Market Cap: £166.1 m

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