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2016 sales, earnings down at PRH

Penguin Random House (PRH) parent company Bertelsmann has reported declines in sales and earnings at the publisher in 2016, with revenue dropping 9.6% from to €3.7bn (A$5.24bn) in 2015 to €3.4bn (A$4.81bn) and EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) declining 3.6% to €537m (A$760m), reports Publishers Weekly.

The figures, which includes results from Bertelsmann-owned German publishing group Verlagsgruppe Random House, remain consistent with the 10.7% drop in half-year revenues reported by the company in September 2016. Revenue over the full year was negatively affected by currency changes and asset sales—PRH sold Author Solutions, Bookworld, Fodor’s and Random House Studios—as well as ‘an expected decline in ebook sales in the US and UK due in part to new retail sales terms’, and a lack of a breakout bestseller among print and ebooks.

Among the publisher’s top sellers were The Girl on the Train (Paula Hawkins), which also drove sales for PRH in 2015, as well as Jojo Moyes’ two titles Me Before You and After You.

Globally, PRH reported ‘largely stable development’ in the German- and Spanish-language book markets.

In a letter to employees, PRH CEO Markus Dohle said commitment to ‘preserving a vital and vibrant bookselling community’ and ‘maximizing efficiencies in our cutting-edge supply chain’ were keys to maintaining strong profitability levels. Dohle added that ‘improving discoverability of PRH books, both in physical stores and online’, remains a top priority in 2017.

Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Rabe said in a press conference that the German media company, which currently holds a 53% stake in PRH, is interested in raising that stake to 70-75%. As previously reported by Books+Publishing, Pearson announced its intentions to sell its 47% stake earlier this year.


Category: International news