Hachette "remarkably resilient" in first half
30.08.10 | Philip Jones
Hachette recorded a 3.4% drop in worldwide sales to €975m in its first half, with earnings before interest and tax down 20.4% to €89m, a performance that French parent Lagardere described as "remarkably resilient". At Hachette UK the first half was described as "excellent" with underlying sales ahead of expectations.
In its results announcement Lagardere blamed the year-on-year fall in worldwide revenue on lower sales of the Stephenie Meyer saga, partly offset by international rights sales, and warned that a sharper drop was expected in the second half. It added that the outlook for the education market was less favourable than had been expected at the start of the year.
The UK and Australia business accounted for 19% of the overall sales figure with revenue of €185m, compared with €192m a year earlier. The US accounted for 25% of revenue, with sales of €244m, compared with €272m a year earlier. The group said that sales of e-books in the US had by the end June reached the same level as for the whole of 2009, having risen 280%.
Hachette UK said it had an "excellent" first half of 2010, despite a 5.7% drop in the UK market compared with 2009, capturing 16.2% of the UK trade market. Sales of Stephenie Meyer titles which had plateaued in the first half of the year were boosted by the international publication of The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner in early June, the group said.
Underlying sales, that is sales across the HUK group excluding Stephenie Meyer titles, were "well ahead of expectations". The business added that it was "looking forward to its strongest autumn and Christmas list since its record breaking year in 2007".