The Quarto Group has seen its "most profitable year ever", the company said, while announcing its chairman Tim Chadwick has decided to step down from the board.
Quarto released its annual results for the year ending 31st December 2015 today (17th March), revealing that revenue was up 6% to $182.2m (£127.4m), while pre-tax profit was up 8% to $12.9m (£9.02m).
Tim Chadwick, the Quarto group chairman, said the results were the culmination of "three years of transformation" following cumulative earnings per share growth and debt reduction.
However, Chadwick also announced his departure from the company, saying he had decided not to put himself forward for re-election at the group's annual general meeting.
Peter Read, currently non-executive director of several companies including Armstrong Ventures plc, has been proposed as the new chairman.
Chadwick said: "After three years of transformation, with cumulative earnings per share growth and debt reduction, 2015 was Quarto’s most profitable year ever. This is the fulfilment of the vision that led to my appointment as Chairman in 2012 and I am proud of what Quarto has achieved since then. I have decided not to put myself forward for re-election at the annual meeting, but rather hand over with confidence to Peter Read, upon his election at the annual meeting, to lead the board as chairman through Quarto’s next phase of growth.”
Core publishing operations at the company grew 13%, spurred on by strong sales of children's books, which were up 41% in 2015. Foreign rights sales were also strong for the company, with revenue up 13% despite fluctuations in foreign currency. Sales of Ivy Press titles had "exceeded expectations" since its acquisiton in February 2015 for £1.3m, according to Quarto, while the acquisition of The Harvard Common Press in February 2016 continues the company's "targeted growth by acquisition."
Quarto c.e.o Marcus Leaver said the company had benefitted from a "resilient" business model.
“Quarto made continued progress in 2015, delivering on our strategic objectives of revenue growth, debt reduction and dividend growth, while improving operational efficiency," he said. "This level of performance was enabled by the resilience of our business model and the professionalism, ambition and hard work of our people around the world."
He added: "Our goal in our 40th anniversary year remains for Quarto to grow in a sustainable and profitable manner, organically and through judicious acquisitions, and steadily reduce net debt further.”
The company also reduced its net debt by 10% to $59.5m (£41.62m).