Driven by a number of acquisitions and hundreds of bestselling books, profits at Penguin Random House jumped 33% in the first half of 2019 over the comparable period in 2018. Revenue in the period rose 11.3%. Operating EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) rose from €171 million to €227 million, and sales hit €1.65 billion, up from €1.48 billion. Acquisitions that affected first half results, as detailed by PRH CEO Markus Dohle in a letter to worldwide employees, were the purchases of children’s publisher Little Tiger Group in London, Spanish-language literary publisher Ediciones Salamandra in Barcelona, and Catalan-language publisher La Campana Llibres (also based in Barcelona). PRH also acquired a 45% stake in Sourcebooks in late May.
For the Second Quarter of Fiscal 2019 • Net sales increased 12.0% to $1,666.6 million compared to $1,488.2 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2018; • Comparable sales (sales for stores open at least 14 months and e-commerce sales) increased 6.2% compared to an increase of 6.5% in the second quarter of fiscal 2018. The 6.2% comparable sales increase was driven by 5.4% transaction growth and 0.8% growth in average ticket; • Gross profit as a percentage of net sales increased 40 basis points to 36.4% compared to 36.0% in the second quarter of fiscal 2018, primarily due to improvement in merchandise margins driven by our marketing and merchandising strategies and leverage of fixed store costs, partially offset by investments in our salon services. For the First Six Months of Fiscal 2019 • Net sales increased 12.5% to $3,409.6 million compared to $3,031.9 million in the first six months of fiscal 2018; • Comparable sales increased 6.6% compared to an increase of 7.3% in the first six months of fiscal 2018. The 6.6% comparable sales increase was driven by 4.8% transaction growth and 1.8% growth in average ticket; • Gross profit as a percentage of net sales increased 50 basis points to 36.7% compared to 36.2% in the first six months of fiscal 2018, primarily due to improvement in merchandise margins driven by our marketing and merchandising strategies and leverage of fixed store costs, partially offset by investments in our salon services and supply chain operations.
In 2019, APP Canada is known for far more than photocopy and printing paper. With a looming ban on single use plastic in Canada, the company is leading the way in innovation with the recent announcement of a completely biodegradable Foopak line of disposable cups and food containers. This year, it also announced the production of one of the first paper straw alternatives on the market fully capable of performing as well as plastic alternatives. Today’s market is also prioritizing sustainable development at the local level and once again, the company is at the forefront. In Indonesia and China it focuses on best practices for training, education, poverty elevation for famers working and living within their forests. Pay-it-forward programs integrating community engagement, NGOs and local governments are as much a part of APP’s business strategy as the technology invested in the paper production itself.
National Average Price for Regular Unleaded – Current: $2.580; Month Ago: $2.727; Year Ago: $2.838. National Average Price for Diesel – Current: $2.931; Month Ago: $2.989; Year Ago: $3.158.
American Dollar to Canadian Dollar = 0.752750; American Dollar to Chinese Yuan = 0.139846; American Dollar to Euro = 1.103761; American Dollar to Japanese Yen = 0.009411; American Dollar to Mexican Peso = 0.049819.
Analysts have slashed their oil price forecasts to the lowest in more than 16 months, citing softening global demand as an economic slowdown looms and uncertainty prevails on the U.S.-China trade front, a Reuters poll showed on Friday. “The ongoing U.S.-China trade disputes and emanating risk of economic slowdown will be the key factors affecting prices for the rest of this year and in 2020,” ANZ analyst Soni Kumari said.
In light of the prevailing market-operating environment, Lecta has retained Evercore and Rothschild & Co. as financial advisors to analyze and implement strategic alternatives for the business. The objective of this process is to secure a capital structure that supports the business going forward and provides Lecta with the financial flexibility and funding to continue its transformation to a specialty paper company. For this purpose, Lecta is in the preliminary stages of engaging with a financial advisor representing a group of noteholders, who have expressed a constructive stance to support the strengthening of the capital structure of the Group. Lecta would encourage existing noteholders to make contact with Evercore and/or Rothschild & Co for further details. The Lecta group has taken initiatives to strengthen its liquidity position and will continue to operate in the normal course of business with the support of its existing cash reserves and its working capital providers, who are not expected to be affected by the ongoing strategic review process.
Following the news that it planned to merge with fellow newspaper conglomerate Gannett, Gatehouse media began a series of layoffs across its newsrooms. Just one week after news of the merger surfaced, Gatehouse laid off nearly 20 reporters from newsrooms including The Oklahoman, Palm Beach Post, Cape Cod Times and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. At the time of those layoffs, Gatehouse did not announced the reduction in workforce. However, the Associated Press has now confirmed the layoffs and reports that more than two dozen newsroom employees have been laid off across at least 10 newspapers over the past three weeks.
Bjørn Einar Ugedal (48) has been appointed new Managing Director at Norske Skog Skogn AS from October 15, 2019. He has extensive experience from a number of positions in the process- and power-intensive industry. Until recently, he was the CEO of Ferroglobe Mangan Norway in Mo i Rana, which produces manganese alloys. He has held a number of leading positions in multinational corporations in the process industry. Ugedal holds an MBA (Master of Business Administration) from the European University of Barcelona (Spain) and graduated with a Master of Science in physical metallurgy at NTNU in Trondheim. We are pleased to welcome Bjørn Einar Ugedal as new Managing Director at Norske Skog Skogn. Together, we share the ambition to create as competitive Norske Skog Skogn as possible in this demanding industry. Today Skogn is a well-run mill with great development potential, and we believe that Ugedal will be able to add new competence to further develop the operations at Skogn, says Sven Ombudstvedt, CEO of Norske Skog AS.
TC Transcontinental participated in the consultations held by the Commission on Culture and Education of the National Assembly of Québec as part of its order of initiative on the future of information media. With its many decades of concrete and unique experience in publishing, printing and door-to-door distribution in Québec, the Corporation would like to help the government in its thought process to providing aid for Québec media which are in the midst of an unprecedented crisis. Mr. François Olivier, President and Chief Executive Officer of TC Transcontinental, along with Mr. Pierre Marcoux, President of TC Media and Mr. Benoit Caron, Vice President of Operations, Distribution, TC Transcontinental Printing, presented the Corporation’s brief to the members of the Commission. “Information media are a source of collective and democratic wealth, and this industry is in dire need of support before it’s too late,” stated François Olivier, President and Chief Executive Officer of TC Transcontinental, to the Commission. “As the door-to-door distributor for the vast majority of free local newspapers in Québec through the Publisac, we intend to continue doing our part by helping our weekly newspaper publishing customers enjoy visibility everywhere in Québec thanks to the unparalleled reach, effectiveness and pricing of distribution through Publisac. Furthermore, as a publisher with TC Media, we are asking for support measures for specialty media equivalent to those requested for print media covering general interest news.”