Atlantic Books made a loss of £1.8m on turnover of £6.9m in 2010, the company has confirmed. But chief executive Toby Mundy said the publisher was likely to grow 15% on 2010's figures this year and had also reduced its costs by 15%.
Mundy said the 2010 losses came about after Atlantic increased its overheads to push ambitious growth plans, including with the launch of its Corvus imprint, while the economy flatlined. The company's 2010 turnover was flat year-on-year, at £23,773 below its 2009 total.
While he described himself as "extremely pleased" with the performance of Corvus itself, Mundy said that Atlantic's contract publishing business had "not played out as planned", with a lack of customers both at home and in the US and South Africa in the tough economic climate.
Atlantic also "rigorously" wrote off unearned advances and stock provision during 2010, in what Mundy called "a very big one-off write-off exercise" that would not be repeated.
"2010 was a dreadful year but there are encouraging signs for 2011," he said. "We've had a record month in September, with Alastair Darling's Back From the Brink, and A D Miller's Snowdrops is the bestselling book on the Man Booker shortlist." Christos Tsiolkas' The Slap has continued to sell well across the year, Mundy added, while Atlantic's e-book business, driven by Corvus, is "really good."
Anthony Cheetham, who headed up international contract co-edition Callisto, as well as having executive responsibility for Corvus, left the company in June, saying: "There wasn't a huge amount for me to do at Atlantic, and the projects that I had envisaged working on were not really happening because it has been a difficult year for the company."