Sales rise for OUP

Sales rise for OUP

Oxford University Press said it overcame "a number of challenges" in the last year to see its annual sales rise by 4.4% to £760m. Those challenges including addressing "issues of ethical misconduct" which saw the publisher fined £1.9m in July 2012.

In its annual report to the end of March 2013, OUP's c.e.o Nigel Portwood said the publisher had "commitment to the highest ethical standards" and had devoted "substantial effort and considerable resources to addressing the past misconduct and to ensuring that we can maintain those standards in the future".

The publisher was fined £1.9m last July after the Serious Fraud Office found OUP subsidiaries in Tanzania and Kenya had been guilty of "unlawful conduct". Trading conditions for the OUP had been "incredibly tough" in some territories over the course of the year, it said, including African markets which had faced "disruption" following the SFO's imposed fine. OUP's sales in the Eurozone were also affected because of economic uncertainty in Europe.

Despite this, Portwood maintained "in all cases, the Press's management reacted quickly to address the issues, and our commitment to high-quality publishing and to supporting our customers' requirements meant that we were still able to grow our business at a rate which compares favourably to that of our competitors."

While overall sales grew by 4.4% to £760m at OUP, sales in emerging markets increased by 12%. The academic publisher said that digital now represented 19% of its overall sales and over half of its sales in scholarly and professional (56%). The publisher reported a "surplus" of £121m and during the course of the year it transferred £50m to the university.

As well as dismantling its International Division and placing its former branches into new groupings, Portwood said OUP re-issued its Code of Conduct and launched a new whistle-blowing service for employees "offering a confidential method for employees to report ethical concerns."

Portwood added: "Our long-term goals remain the same. We are committed to furthering the university's mission of excellence in education, scholarship, and research, which we achieve by publishing worldwide. We continue to focus on our goals of developing leadership positions in the three core markets of academic publishing, international schools, and English language teaching as well as enhancing our visibility in higher education and investing in dictionaries development."

He said he believed market conditions would remain "difficult", with "weakness persisting in many developed markets," and curriculum reforms either ending or being delayed. "However, with our new organizational structures in place, our on-going investment programme, and a series of innovative publishing projects currently in development—particularly for emerging markets—I believe we are ideally placed both to address the upcoming challenges and to continue our success in pursuing the significant opportunities which still exist in the academic and educational markets," he said.