Harry Potter


"Potter spell not wearing off for Bloomsbury"

by Braden Reddall (Reuters, June 28, 2001)

LONDON - Harry Potter publisher Bloomsbury Publishing Plc said on Thursday it expected to beat last year's first-half turnover and operating profit by "a substantial margin," boosting its shares by eight percent.
Britain-based Bloomsbury also said its U.S. operation was rapidly becoming a significant revenue generator and that it would form a U.S. children's publishing operation, building on the success of its UK children's division.
Shares in the group added 60 pence or 7.7 percent to 842-1/2 in early London trade, its highest for six months. The stock is outperforming the FTSE media index by 26 percent in 2001.
Harry Potter books, by JK Rowling, have proved a huge hit with children and even some adults, breaking many publishing records by selling more than 100 million copies.
A Hollywood film about the bespectacled boy wizard will hit screens in November, and it is expected to provide a big boost for AOL Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Bros. film division.
Bloomsbury has launched a range of Harry Potter merchandise, including diaries, address books and personal organisers.
Chairman Nigel Newton was due to tell shareholders at the group's annual general meeting later on Thursday that the company continued to show strong growth.
"On the basis of the group's performance in the year to date, we will exceed, by a substantial margin, last year's first half turnover and operating profit, as well as beat our own internal forecasts," he said in a statement.
Newton said chef-author Anthony Bourdain's book "Kitchen Confidential" had sold well in Britain and the United States, and that John Irving's new novel "The Fourth Hand" would probably be one of the summer's most-read books among holiday makers.
Last year, Bloomsbury made 11.3 million pounds ($16 million) in first-half sales, on its way to a full-year pre-tax profit of 5.8 million and a 143 percent jump in turnover to 50.7 million.
Consensus forecasts among analysts for Bloomsbury's full-year 2001 performance were for a pre-tax profit of 7.3 million pounds on turnover of 60 million pounds, according to Multex Global Estimates in its mid-June edition.
Newton also announced in the AGM statement the company's new audio publishing list, including books on tape by major Bloomsbury authors. The audio book market was growing at 10 percent a year in the UK, he added.