HCUK reports 'best December for a decade'

HarperCollins UK has reported its “best December for a decade” as News Corp posts strong overall results for the end of its second quarter.

Although HC’s results are not specifically broken out, the corporation as a whole saw a doubling in quarterly profits, with a net profit of $2.4bn (£1.5bn) for the three months to the end of December 2012, compared to $1.1bn (£0.7bn) in the same period of 2011. Sales were up 5% on 2011 to $9.4bn (£6bn).

News Corp’s publishing division—which includes the newspaper businesses as well as book publishing—had operating income of $234m (£148.7m) for the quarter, up $16m (£10m) from the previous year. However, in the last two quarters to 31st December, the publishing division had a $37m (£22.5m) decline in operating income, down to $291m (£185m) from $328m (£208m) the previous year—with much of that slide down to the contraction of its UK newspaper business.  

Victoria Barnsley, c.e.o. and publisher of HCUK and international said: “HarperCollins UK had a tremendous quarter with excellent year on year growth. In fact, it was our best December for a decade, based on TCM share. In addition to the huge success of The Hobbit film books,  we had a string of hits such as Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel, which was the second biggest hardback of 2012; Ratburger by David Walliams was Children’s number one for seven weeks; Cheryl Cole’s My Story was the number one hardback biography of the year; we had two of the cookery top 10 bestsellers with Nigel Slater and Lorraine Pascale; One Direction was the second best-selling annual of 2012 and Downton Abbey was the bestselling TV tie-in, excluding cookery books.”

She added: “Our growth in the first six months has been driven by Fiction, Fourth Estate and Children’s, but it’s also been a very successful time for our export sales team with impressive growth in international.  In addition in digital our ebook sales have nearly doubled year-on-year.  We are on track at the half way point of our financial year with a strong publishing line up still to come, with new titles from Brian Cox, Cathy Kelly, Stuart MacBride and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie to name but a few.”

Rupert Murdoch, chairman and c.e.o. of News Corp, is still pushing ahead with plans to divide the company into an entertainment business and a publishing business, a process which could be completed this summer.

He said: “As we make progress toward the proposed separation of our entertainment and publishing businesses later this year, I am confident in the future prospects for both businesses.”