Harry Potter publisher boosts earnings view as lockdown reading casts a spell

  • >> Reuters
    Published: 2021-06-02 15:54:33 BdST

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A store assistant holds copies of the book of the play of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child parts One and Two at a bookstore in London, Britain July 31, 2016. REUTERS

Bloomsbury Publishing declared a special dividend and lifted targets for the current year, after strong book sales during lockdowns drove a 22% surge in the Harry Potter publisher's annual earnings.

Profit before taxation and highlighted items rose to 19.2 million pounds in the 12 months to Feb 28 from 15.7 million pounds a year earlier. Revenue jumped 14% to 185.1 million pounds.

"The strength of demand for our titles, in print, e-book and audio, and the surge in sales of our digital products, demonstrate the strength of our long-term growth strategy," Chief Executive Nigel Newton said.

London-based Bloomsbury had upgraded its 2020-2021 targets multiple times this year thanks to "an exceptional sales performance" in its consumer division for both adult and children's publishing.

The company proposed a special dividend of 9.78 pence in addition to a 10% rise in its final dividend to 7.58 pence per share.

Bloomsbury also expects fiscal 2021-2022 results to be comfortably ahead of market estimates, which call for revenues of 177.5 million pounds and profit before taxation and highlighted items of 17.4 million pounds.