After F+W Media filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and auctioned off its portfolio of 50 magazines earlier this year, Active Interest Media’s Cruz Bay Publishing placed the winning bids for 14 total brands across the Woodworking, Writing, Horticulture and Collectibles Groups, in order to extend its footprint within these enthusiast markets. But months of an impending bankruptcy that led to numerous employees jumping ship, left the brands depleted by the time they ended up under the AIM roof. Asked which aspects of these brands need some work, Peter Miller, president of AIM’s home group, replied, “Everything. It’s a fixer-upper.” So why spend $1.6 million on them? “They are as core enthusiast as you can get,” AIM president and CEO Andy Clurman says. “These people are sort of beyond casual hobbyists, and that’s the essence of AIM. In some cases there’s overlap, like in woodworking and gardening, and we looked at the amount of overlap, but the majority of those audiences are complementary, not competitive.” Click Read More below for additional information.
Commenting on the results, Nigel Newton, Chief Executive, said: “The popularity of reading has been a ray of sunshine in an otherwise very dark year. In an outstanding year for Bloomsbury, we delivered record results with sales up 14% to £185.1 million compared to the industry which was up 2%1. Our profit before tax and highlighted items4 of £19.2 million showed an increase of 22% over the prior year. These results are ahead of expectations and represent our third upgrade this year. These performances demonstrate the strength and resilience of our strategy of publishing for both the general and academic market.
Our Consumer division delivered a stellar performance, with profit before tax and highlighted items4 up by 61% to £14.2 million, including excellent revenue growth of 22% across the Adult and Children’s divisions. Our diverse Consumer portfolio included backlist titles which really struck a chord with readers throughout the pandemic on themes such as humanity, social inclusion, escapism, fantasy, cookery and baking.
In our Non-Consumer division, Bloomsbury Digital Resources achieved phenomenal growth of 49%, with £12.4 million revenue. Our academic digital growth also significantly outperformed the UK market, with our digital resource strategy, conceived six years ago, ahead of and benefitting from the structural shift to online learning.
In light of our strong financial position and cash generation, and the importance of delivering attractive shareholder returns in accordance with our dividend policy, the Board proposes an increase of 10% to our final dividend2. The Board greatly appreciates the support of our shareholders during such unprecedented circumstances last year, and we are also proposing a special dividend of 9.78 pence per share.
Since the year end, we have achieved another key step in the delivery of our long term growth strategy expanding our Non-Consumer business, with the acquisition of the Red Globe Press list. Acquiring these complementary lists accelerates our digital growth and our significant presence in humanities and social sciences academic publishing.
Considering the ongoing momentum and strength of our business, Bloomsbury expects revenue to be ahead and profit to be comfortably ahead of market expectations for the year ended 28 February 20223.
*Revenues increased by 14% to £185.1 million (2019/20: £162.8 million)
*Profit before taxation and highlighted items4 grew by 22% to £19.2 million, up from £15.7 million in 2019/20
*Profit before taxation grew by 31% to £17.3 million (2019/20: £13.2 million)
*Net cash of £54.5 million at 28 February 2021, up 74% (2020: £31.3 million)
*Cash conversion of 142% (2019/20: 111%)
details at: https://www.bloomsbury-ir.co.uk/media/press_releases/2021/020621