Profits surge at OUP

Profits surge at OUP

Oxford University Press has described a surge in pretax profit by nearly 25% as "excellent", but said it does not underestimate the challenges publishers are facing.

The academic publisher has reported pretax profits of £122.6m in the 12 months to 31st March 2011, up from £98.5m last year. The company also increased sales by nearly 6%, to £648.6m in that period, up from £611.9m last year.

OUP c.e.o. Nigel Portwood said: “We’re proud of last year’s excellent results, but we don’t under-estimate the challenges publishers are facing. Success not only demonstrates effectiveness in fulfilling the university’s educational goals, but gives us the confidence and capability to continue with our wide-ranging schedule of investments.”

The press, which has invested heavily in digital developments since last year, put part of its success down to 85% of its sales being outside the UK, with 37% in emerging markets such as schools in India and China.

Its annual report said: “In all cases, success has been underpinned by a familiar set of characteristics, the creation of exceptional resources . . . effective dissemination to as wide an audience as possible . . . an extremely diverse and geographic spread that generally protects us from individual market vagaries, a brand that people trust, which is becoming increasingly important in the digital age.”

The report notes the global academic market has continued to “transform” in a digital direction and within the year OUP has combined three divisions—OUP USA, UK Academic, and Journals into one Global Academic Business to help “maximise future success in this evolving field".

The report added: “This is an exciting development which allows us to take full advantage of the market opportunities.”

Nearly everything OUP publishes now has a digital component, it says, naming the Oxford Bibliographies Online, Oxford English Testing and the launch of Oxford Next in Canada and Oxford Owl in the UK as particular highlights.

The press also said it had achieved sales in global academic library markets despite “difficult market conditions” due to investment in the Asian market, investment in digital products and the value of the Oxford list to institutions.