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Quercus: 2012 profits to be 'below expectations'

Quercus has reported that it expects profit before tax in the year to 31st December 2012 to be "significantly below market expectations".

In an interim trading statement, the independent publisher attributed the drop to the non-delivery of a "key Christmas title", which chief financial officer and chief operating officer Colin Adams declined to name. The title is now scheduled to be released for Christmas 2013.

The slump is also attributed to the level of reorders in the lead-up to the Christmas period - which were intended, in part, to compensate for the delay of the book - being "below expectations". Overall trading in the lead-up to the end of the year was also below budget.

However, e-book sales were described as "very encouraging", up 137% on 2011, though falling short of the company's "high expectations" over Christmas week. The interim trading statement added: "Nonetheless, e-books form a significant and growing proportion of the company's total revenues".

The company reported a positive cash balance of £1.8m at the end of 2012, and said it is "confident" in its strategy of "investing in new imprints, staff and high quality Intellectual Property to generate future organic growth". Adams said there were no new imprints for Quercus in the UK planned for 2013.

The publisher also looked ahead to 2013 as the first year to include a full complement of books from new imprints, Jo Fletcher Books and Heron Books, with the launch of Quercus' US business in the autumn.