HarperCollins’ education arm Collins India is the "fastest-growing business in the company globally", the publisher's UK c.e.o Charlie Redmayne has said.
Speaking to The Bookseller following the announcement of a new c.e.o at HarperCollins India, Ananth Padmanabhan, Redmayne said the Indian business – consisting of local trade publishing and US and UK imports – had grown revenue by 40% last year, with Collins India "taking the Indian schools education market by storm".
The Collins India arm is run by Krishna Naroor who reports to the UK’s m.d of Collins Learning, Colin Hughes.
Redmayne said Collins India was a “huge opportunity” for the company, with employees increasing from one to 86 since it launched in January 2013. Collins India now sells educational materials into 1,300 private schools, with that number expected to increase to 4,000 by the end of this year and 10,000 by the end of 2016. It now accounts for nearly 20% of the HarperCollins India business. There are around 85,000 private schools in India altogether.
“Collins India works very closely with our Collins Learning business here in the UK – though admittedly only a year old it is actually probably the fastest-growing business we have in HarperCollins globally,” Redmayne said. “It sells textbooks and other education products to private schools in India and is already taking significant market share away from Oxford University Press amongst others - it is growing incredibly quickly.
“Krishna has built that business from being literally the only employee to now employing 86 employees including 60 field reps selling into the schools. This will obviously grow as the business grows. It is a business which is really taking the Indian schools education market by storm. It…has very quickly become a significant part of the overall business.”
However, Redmayne said the trade publishing arm of the business was also performing strongly.
“That said, we are also seeing significant growth in our trade publishing business and with Ananth Padmanabhan taking over as c.e.o of HarperCollins India - with all his experience and drive we couldn’t be more excited for the future - we see this as a real step change moment for HarperCollins in India. ”
HarperCollins India also publishes titles by local authors as well as those published by its UK and US arms. “The areas that have sold well are literary fiction out of Fourth Estate, mainstream fiction out of HarperFiction and some of the serious non-fiction that we do with William Collins,” Redmayne said. “As an aside there is also real growth in pulp fiction - bringing new readers into the market through paper backs and a growing number of mobile devices.”
HarperCollins announced last week that Ananth Padmanabhan would be the new c.e.o. of HarperCollins India, and a new board for the business would be formed. He was recruited from Penguin Random House India and will take over from P M Sukumar who leaves the company at the end of September.
At the same time, it was announced that HC India would move back under the responsibility of HC UK.
In July 2013, responsibility for HC arms in Australia, New Zealand and India moved from the UK to Brian Murray, president and c.e.o of HC worldwide. At the same time, Victoria Barnsley, then c.e.o of HC UK, left the company.
Redmayne explained that now felt like the right time for India to report back into the UK, partly because of the success of UK-published titles in India and because of the success of Collins India. However, Australia and New Zealand will continue to report to Murray.
Redmayne said: “When I took over HarperCollins UK, it was going to be a fairly big job getting up to speed and running that business. Brian Murray moved the reporting line for India and ANZ. He was keen to really get across India - and as for ANZ - as he was a former c.eo of that business he knew it inside out. Both businesses reported into a board of which he was chairman and on which I sat - nothing else actually changed in the way the UK works with those businesses.
“I have had a couple of years at HarperCollins UK now both have gone well - driving revenue growth and profitability in all areas - last year was our record year – I think the feeling was that now would be a good time for the India business to come back to the UK.”
On the change of c.e.o at HarperCollins India, Redmayne said: “P M Sukumar did a great job over the last 10 years but he and we felt there was an opportunity to bring fresh legs to help drive the business forward.”
HC does not break out turnover and profit figures for its India arm. Total global sales at HarperCollins to the year ending 30th June 2015 reached $1.67bn, helped by the acquisition of Harlequin the year before, while EBITDA rose to $221 million.
The Collins India sales team.