A record fourth quarter, with a 20% revenue rise and an 82% surge in EBITDA, has boosted HarperCollins' total annual results, which saw revenue up 7% and EBITDA up 23% worldwide for the year to 30th June 2018, parent company News Corp has reported.
Revenues in the fourth quarter rose 20% to $490m (£384m), up from $407m (£319m) the previous year, with EBITDA soaring 82% to $71m (£55.6m), up from $39m (£30.6m). That pushed HarperCollins' full year revenue total up 7% to $1,758m (£1,377m), up from $1,636m (£1,282m) in 2017, with EBITDA up 23% to $244m (£191m).
News Corp reported that the annual figures were "primarily due to higher sales in general books", including titles such as The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson and The Woman in the Window by A J Finn, as well as by $28m (£22m) of revenue from the sublicensing agreement for J R R Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings trilogy. A $25m (£19.5m) fillip from foreign currency fluctuations also boosted the figure.
Digital sales increased 6% compared to the prior year, driven by the growth in audio, representing 19% of consumer revenues in the year.
News Corp's chief executive Robert Thomson noted: "HarperCollins's success underscores the importance of intelligent editors and great writers in creating premium content. Algorithms are, as yet, unable to write empathic, compelling books."
News Corp as a whole saw revenues up 11% to $9,024m (£7,070m) with EBITDA up 21% at $1,072m (£840m). Thomson said: “Fiscal 2018 was a year of operational and transformational success at News Corp, with robust performance across our businesses, and positive and profound changes in the character of our revenue flows, which were more global, digital and subscription-based. We generated strong revenue and Segment EBITDA growth in the
Digital Real Estate Services and Book Publishing segments, which, together with the consolidation of Foxtel, drove over $1 billion in profitability for the year."
HarperCollins UK did not issue a comment on the figures.