News Column

Quarto First-Half Profit Up, But Leaves Dividend Unchanged

August 12, 2014

Rowena Harris-Doughty

LONDON (Alliance News) - Quarto Group Inc saw its shares fall Tuesday after it reported a fall in revenue and left its dividend unchanged for the first half of its financial year, despite an uptick in profit due to lower finance costs.

The book publisher and distributor posted a pretax profit of USD1.1 million for the six months to June 30, compared with USD715,000 in the first half of 2013, which it said was down to lower fiance costs.

Revenue fell by 3% to USD65.6 million, from USD72.2 million a year earlier, hit by weakness predominately in the UK and the US, although other parts of its business also faced weaker trading.

The group left its interim dividend unchanged at 3.35 pence per share.

"Despite a tough first half we expect the new product and the marketing & sales initiatives that we invested, in 2013, to deliver a strong second half in our publishing businesses. There are positive signs of the turnaround we targeted in the Books & Gifts Direct business in Australia and New Zealand," said Chief Executive Officer Marcus Leaver in a statement.

Quarto said trading will be weighted towards the second half of this year more than usual, and said despite setbacks in the first part of the year, it expects to deliver full year earnings growth.

"On the basis of current levels of underlying trading, the group is on track to meet management expectations for the year and deliver both debt reduction and earnings growth," it said.

Quarto shares were down 8.9% at 138.00 pence Tuesday mid-morning, one of the biggest fallers on London main market.

Quarto said first-half revenue declined due to a combination of factors. It said revenue in its core publishing businesses were down as a result of its US wholesaler HDA ceasing operations, backlist destocking and weak uptake of new titles by major book retailers.

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Source: Alliance News

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