Profits at Oxford University Press (OUP) were down slightly in the year to the end of March 2015 because of “difficult trading conditions”, the company has said.
OUP had a total turnover of £767m in the 12 months to 31st March this year, up from £759m the year before, it revealed in its annual report.
Profit before tax was down to £104m from £107.2m in 2013/14, and net profit for the year to 31st March was £93.1m, down from £95.5m the previous year.
OUP said that overall digital sales grew by 7% across the company, equivalent to 20% of all sales. More than half of OUP’s global academic turnover now comes from digital products.
The company said its presence in emerging markets has delivered an average annual growth rate of 12.5% over the past three years, but that in 2014/15 “economic and trading conditions in many of these markets had an adverse impact on the Press’s performance”.
“Difficult trading conditions in India, South East Asia, and parts of Latin America were exacerbated by some countries coming to the end of a period of curriculum reform,” said the company. “Despite this, OUP’s Asia Education division, comprising China, India, Malaysia, Singapore, and Pakistan, saw double-digit growth.”
Academic sales grew in 2014 “partly driven by success in the journals market”.
OUP secured 12 new collection deals in the UK and increased its presence in emerging markets such as China and Mexico.
The publisher’s chief executive Nigel Portwood said: “Despite challenging conditions in some emerging markets we saw good growth elsewhere, including parts of Asia, English Language Teaching, and our journals business.
“We are making good progress in transforming ourselves into a digital business and extending our global reach.
“This financial year has started with the announcement of several exciting new initiatives, including the launch of a joint venture with AQA to deliver international examinations, and the acquisitions of bab.la and Epigeum.
“We are confident that the Press is well positioned to continue benefiting the lives of people across the world through providing excellent academic and educational resources.”