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Pearson reports a return to profit; PRH revenue ‘slightly up’

UK educational publisher Pearson has posted its annual financial results, revealing pre-tax profits of £421 million (A$750 million), up from a £2.6 billion (A$4.6 billion) loss last year, sustained due to impairment charges, reports the Bookseller.

The publisher’s annual financial results also showed Pearson’s revenue was down 0.9% to £4.5 billion (A$8.02 billion) for the full year in 2017, with underlying revenues down two percent, due to a four percent decline in North American sales.

Pearson also revealed that revenue at Penguin Random House (PRH) was ‘slightly up’, driven by a rise in audiobook sales.

Print sales at the trade publisher were reported as ‘broadly stable’, while ebook sales experienced ‘modest ongoing declines in demand’. PRH bestsellers over the course of the year included Dan Brown, R J Palacio, John Grisham, Jamie Oliver, and Dr Seuss.

Pearson completed the sale of its 22% stake in PRH in October 2017, and currently retains a 25% stake in the company. The trade publisher accounted for £94 million (A$168 million) of the company’s adjusted operating profit during the course of the year, down from £129 million (A$230 million) the year before.

In addition, Pearson announced it was putting its K12 school courseware business up for sale, saying it wants to divest itself of the business in a bid to become a ‘simpler and more efficient’ company. Pearson said it was currently in talks to sell the business, which accounts for nine percent of Pearson’s turnover, but just two percent of its profit.

Pearson chief executive John Fallon said 2018 would be a ‘pivotal year’ for the company as customers shifted from an ownership model to an ‘access model’—that is, renting textbooks physically and electronically, rather than owning them.


Category: International news