Four jobs have gone in the UK as part of the recent round of job cuts revealed with the company's half-year results yesterday (17th September), a Quarto spokesperson has confirmed. All the jobs are said to be in operations, with no publishing jobs affected.
No UK lists have been closed, but in the US the Voyageur imprint has been shuttered alongside the closure of Quarto's Minneapolis office. Voyageur was acquired by the Quarto Group in 2007, and was devoted to publishing books that "illuminate, inform, and instruct on self-sufficiency, country life, American food and drink, popular science, regional travel, and music and popular culture”.
In tandem with the release of an "encouraging" set of results for the first half of 2018, the company this week announced a new "cost-out programme" involving "a thorough review of key areas of expenditure including but not limited to, pre-publication expenditure, occupancy costs, payroll and discretionary expenditure". According to the company it was launched to achieve "a right-sizing of the Group; a path to sustainable debt reduction; a focus on our core strengths; and a disciplined business model".
Following a tumultuous period of leadership change over the summer, the illustrated book publisher this week reported a group revenue rise of 12% year-on-year to $56.2m (H1 2017: $50.2m) for the first six months of 2018. Quarto's UK publishing lists revenue was up 17%, driven by "a strong contribution" from its children's imprints, and its US publishing lists revenue up 9%. The company's group operating loss was $7m, down from last year’s $7.6m, but its after tax loss came in higher at $6.7m compared to $5.2m the year before. Net debt at 30th June 2018 was $73.2m (H1 2017: $75.8m), a decrease of $2.6m over the 12-month period.
The shareholder revolt in May, temporarily bringing about the return of ousted co-founder Laurence Orbach and prompting the resignation of Marcus Leaver, was said to have been sparked by concerns over the publisher's debt. A shareholder vote in August has since set about increasing Quarto's borrowing powers with "significant progress" has been made with its banks to extend its facilities to August 2020, key terms of which include a debt reduction programme. According to interim c.e.o. CK Lau this will enable the company to "lay down a key building block in returning the Group to full-health".