Bertelsmann, the majority owner of Penguin Random House, has reported a 6.4% year-on-year rise in its group profit to almost €700m for the first nine months of 2017.
Group profit increased to €694m (2016 first nine months: €652m) while operating EBITDA reached a new record high of €1.6bn (2016: €1.63bn).
The company reiterated its confidence it can reach group profit in excess of a €1bn by the end of the year.
Bertelsmann said its strategic growth businesses were particularly instrumental in the nine-month result. It reported RTL Group's digital activities increased by roughly 30% to €560m; the music company BMG grew by 29%; the Bertelsmann Education Group recorded growth of 38%; and, overall, the share of total revenues contributed by the "high-growth businesses" increased to 32% (2016: 29%). With capital gains of €69m, the Bertelsmann Asia Investments (BAI) fund made a high contribution to earnings, too, it said.
No financial details were given of Penguin Random House's performance in the first nine months of this year, but it celebrated that 346 Penguin Random House titles made the New York Times bestseller lists, 45 of them at number 1, and the expansion of the international publishing group’s Spanish-language businesses from the acquisition of the Ediciones B publishing group, completed in July.
For the first half of 2017, reported in August, PRH's revenues had remained stable at €1.5bn (£1.38bn), building marginally on 2016's first-half revenue by 1.1% year-on-year.
Bertelsmann chairman and c.e.o. Thomas Rabe said: “The 2017 financial year continues to be very gratifying for Bertelsmann. We have stepped up our growth dynamic again, after nine months. The good business performance is accompanied by progress in the implementation of our strategy. With the share increase in Penguin Random House completed, we now own strategic majorities in all our divisions: 75 percent in RTL Group and Penguin Random House, 100 percent in all other divisions. Bertelsmann is increasingly becoming a faster-growing, more digital, more international, and more diversified company. We will continue on this path.”
Bernd Hirsch, chief financial officer of Bertelsmann, added: “Bertelsmann will continue to pursue its conservative financing policy even after completing the Penguin Random House share increase in October 2017. We are confident about our further performance in the financial year and continue to expect increased revenues, continued high operating profitability, and group profit of over one billion euros.”