The market welcomed ahead-of-forecast first-half figures from book publisher Quarto (QRT) with the stock up 1.7 % in early trade to 149p. The £29 million cap revealed revenues down 1.4% for the first six months of 2012 but operating profits 2.4% ahead as cost-cutting measures took effect.
Investors might have been encouraged by a commitment to substantially reduce borrowings with net debt ending the period at $83.3 million, down $4.5 million on last year when it stood at $87.8 million. Changes made to the sales and marketing teams of the company’s US operations also appear to be bearing fruit with revenues 7% ahead of 2012 at Quayside Publishing.
Changes made at Quayside have resulted in ‘good growth’ at major accounts. Meanwhile other initiatives in the gift, retail, home and garden specialty sales, as well as database and social media marketing, have bolstered business here.
Quayside, which generated $29.1 million of the groups’ overall $73.2 million of revenues in the period, also enjoyed good digital sales growth, up 5% such that digital sales now represent approximately 6% of the arm’s overall revenues.
The big cost savings came from the Quarto International Co-Editions business, where revenues were $10.7 million, down 4.5% on 2012’s $11.2 million. But the restructuring efforts meant the business was able to deliver a small £32,000 operating profit which was better-than-expected. Divisional overheads were down 13% following the removal of the firm’s Australian office.