Publisher DC Thomson has reported a decline in profits, blamed mainly on losses in its book publishing division, Parragon.
DC Thomson, famous for its ownership of the Beano among other publications, had total revenue of £252m in the year to 31st March 2013, compared to £272m for the 12 months previous, a fall of 7%.
The company’s pre-tax profits were £23.7m for the 12 months to 31st March 2013, compared to £31million for the previous year, a drop of 25%.
Parragon had a turnover of £84.6m and an operating loss of £1m for the year ending 31st March 2013, compared to turnover of £97.7m and operating profit of £3.4m for the year before.
In its statement to Companies House, DC Thomson said that “conditions were difficult” in all book markets, but “especially Europe and Asia”.
“The book division was affected by sales decline,” the company said. “There was also significant discounting as competitors sought to reduce stock levels and this reduced gross margins.
“The business was able to mitigate some of this by cost reductions in overheads but not enough to fully offset the sales and margin pressures. In addition the business suffered some significant bad debts in our European business.
“During the year, Parragon reorganised its operations in Australia and Europe and the Peter Hadcock operation in Bridlington was closed.”
But the company also said: “Despite difficult conditions in the book market there is continued investment in areas of strategic growth potential for the long term, including expansion in the digital, gifting and stationery businesses.”