Car manual publisher Haynes Publishing Group has said it expects profit before tax for the financial year ended 31st May 2017 to be up by 15% on the previous year due to "strong" second half trading from its European operations and a lower cost base in North America and Australia. The company has made the prediction ahead of its full year results which will be announced in September.
In addition, Haynes expects its reportable profit before tax and exceptional items to be around 40% ahead of the previous year, due, in part, to the benefit the group has seen from favourable exchange rates when revenues from its overseas operations are translated into sterling.
In 2016/17, the group continued to invest in its consumer digital programme and revamped an online manual platform.
Early in the new financial year, the Haynes OnDemand offering, which will contain over 1,000 vehicle specific maintenance videos, will be launched. The technical infrastructure that delivers the Haynes OnDemand platform "supersedes and enhances" the group’s previous technology, the company said. Haynes will be writing down the costs of the former platform as an exceptional item in financial year 2017.
In December 2016, the company disposed of its Australian freehold property for A$3.8m (£2.18m) and recently sold one of its two decommissioned US freehold properties in Nashville for $1.5m (£1.16m). The group’s remaining freehold properties in Nashville, Tennessee and Sparkford, Somerset, are presently being marketed for sale.
The Board expects that the exceptional gain on the two property disposals will offset the platform write-down costs and the costs associated with its recent aquisition of OATS, a database for the lubricants sector of the oil industry. The net impact of the exceptional items on the full year results should therefore "not be significant", the company said.
Meanwhile, Jim Nicholson, senior vice president of Haynes North America, was appointed to the board of directors on 1st June 2017. Nicholson has worked for the group for 25 years, and played a "key" role in the recent successful restructuring and refocusing of its US business, the publisher said.
Eddie Bell, group chairman, said: “2016-2017 has been a solid year for Haynes. We have set our strategic targets and met them, continued to lower our cost base and achieved good trading in a competitive international environment.
"Whilst we have benefited from positive exchange rate movements, all of our staff deserve to be congratulated for contributing to a significant turnaround of the business that has seen good underlying revenue and profit growth during a period of transition.
"I am especially pleased to welcome Jim Nicholson, senior vice president of Haynes North America, on to the Board. Jim’s appointment not only reflects his contribution in overseeing the successful restructuring of the US business but also demonstrates the importance of the US business to the Group’s future growth plans.”