Bloomsbury reports end-2012 profit rise

Bloomsbury has reported a year-on-year profit boost in the final quarter of 2012, at the same time as announcing a new publishing partnership with cookery show "Masterchef".

In its interim results for the four months to 31st December, Bloomsbury said that despite a 2% decrease in title sales, there had been a rise in operating profits year on year, with the lower production costs of e-books and lower returns due to online sales both factors. No figure was given for the profit rise.

At 31st December 2012 the Group had net cash of £7.7m, compared to £10.6m of 31st August 2012. Bloomsbury also reported a budgeted income of £2.7m from contracts due to be completed between now and the year end.

Bloomsbury reported that e-book sales retained "good momentum", particularly in the UK, growing 58% year on year in the period.

The publisher cited Paul Hollywood's How to Bake, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Three Good Things and J K Rowling's Hogwarts Library as its stand-out publications and hailed sales of Bloomsbury Professional's new online Tax Planner Service, launched in October 2012 as "ahead of our expectations". Sales of the Churchill Archive, which launched in October 2012, were also hailed as "exceeding our expectations".

Nigel Newton, Bloomsbury c.e.o., said: "We are making good progress on many fronts during the transition of the market towards more digital sales. E-book sales are showing strong momentum and we are greatly encouraged by the potential of our online Knowledge Hubs where we have some large deals in progress."

Meanwhile the publisher has entered into a publishing partnership with MasterChef via its management company Shine 360, with the cookery show-inspired titles to be published under specialist cookery imprint Absolute Press.

The first titles to be published under the deal will be the MasterChef Series Nine (2013) Winner and Finalists' collection, and the multi-year partnership will see the MasterChef titles published across "multiple markets and territories".

Absolute Press publisher Jon Croft said: "The MasterChef brand is without equal within television and its spread is worldwide and much loved and respected. This is a very exciting partnership of shared passions and will be a great addition to Bloomsbury's ever burgeoning food list."

Masterchef titles have previously been published by Dorling Kindersley.