Bastei Lübbe AG: Cologne-Based media concern posts strong EBIT growth: Bastei Lübbe AG completes successful 2013/14 fiscal year

Bastei Lübbe AG / Key word(s): Final Results

30.06.2014 / 08:35

Cologne-Based media concern posts strong EBIT growth:
Bastei Lübbe AG completes successful 2013/14 fiscal year

- Revenues of 107.5 million euros (+9.4%); EBIT of 14.9 million euros (+24.7%); annual profits of 9.1 million euros (+14.5%)

- Broad growth stretching across all three publishing fields (Book, Puzzle and Serialised Novels and Non-Book)

- Executive Board and Supervisory Board recommend dividends of 0.28 euro cents per share to annual stockholders meeting

Cologne, 30 June 2014. Media company Bastei Lübbe AG has posted revenue and earnings growth for the 2013/2014 fiscal year (as at the reporting date of 31 March). Revenues rose during the reporting period by 9.4% to 107.5 million euros, while earnings before taxes and interest (EBIT) climbed to 14.9 million euros. The bottom line: annual profits rose by 14.5% year-on-year to 9.1 million euros. "We're pleased to look back on a highly successful 2013/14 fiscal year that saw us continue the positive trend from a year ago. Our growth strategy paid off", explains Thomas Schierack, CEO at Bastei Lübbe AG.

One special point of pride: "The positive sales trend stretches across all segments", notes Thomas Schierack, who oversaw a rise in sales from 98.3 million euros a year ago to 107.5 million euros now. The strong-performing 'Book' segment rose by 8.4 percent to 85.8 million euros. The "Serialised Novels/Puzzle Magazines" and "Non-Book" saw even higher growth, with revenues increasing by 18.4% (to 10.2 million euros) and 9.0% (to 11.5 million euros) respectively.

Bastei Lübbe also managed to continue its dynamic growth in the area of electronic media, one of the greatest pillars of growth for the entire media group. "The share of digital products in terms of overall sales has almost doubled in recent years. If you add in digital audio sales, digital has come to represent more than 14.5% of overall revenues. We will continue to expand this area as well. In the medium term this will also include our two most recent acquisitions, namely majority stakes in Daedalic Entertainment GmbH and BookRix GmbH & Co. KG, although both transactions came after the reporting deadline in May 2014", Bastei Lübbe's CEO commented.

One sign of Bastei Lübbe's growing profitability can be seen in the Earnings before Interest and Taxes (EBIT), which grew even more quickly than revenues: The EBIT totalled 14.9 million euros in fiscal year 2013/14, which is 24.7% higher year-on-year (PY: 12.0 million euros). The "Book" division enjoyed especially strong growth (+49.2% to 14.6 million euros). The "Serialised Novels/Puzzle Magazines" segment also posted gains (by 5.5%, to 1.1 million euro), while the "Non-Book" segment reported losses of 0.8 million euros (after gains of 1.1 million euros a year ago).

Total assets amounted to 108.1 million euro at the end of the fiscal year, up from 88.8 million euro at the close of FY 2012/13. The growth primarily reflects the capital increase achieved through the public offering from October 2013. As at 31 March 2014, equity capital had increased from 26.8 million to 52.1 million euros y/y. As such, equity capital now represents 48.1% of net assets (up from 30.2%). The operative cash flow increased to 11.1 million euro (PY: 1.6 million euros).

As announced at the time of the IPO, the Bastei Lübbe media group intends to pursue a sustainable dividend strategy. This policy calls for shareholders to share appropriately in the positive annual results, or, as Bastei Lübbe CEO Thomas Schierack puts it: "We have positioned ourselves with a shareholder-friendly position involving sustainable dividend policies. For this reason the executive board and supervisory board are currently planning on issuing the recommendation to the annual shareholders meeting on 17 September 2014 that a dividend of 0.28 euros/share should be issued, allowing shareholders to share in the company's strong performance." This is not intended as a one-time payment, but rather the start of an ongoing dividend strategy. "In the future we intended to issue 40 to 50 per cent of the dividend-eligible annual profits to our shareholders, presuming such dividend payments are compatible with our strategy for long-term, sustainable growth in the business", Schierack continues.

For the ongoing fiscal year, Bastei Lübbe is predicting moderate revenue growth and flat EBIT y/y. The 'Book' segment is forecast as the company's growth driver, in particular the digital area. Greater stability is expected for the Serialised Novel and Puzzle Magazine divisions, while slight growth is forecast for the 'Non-Book' segment. "Foreign revenues, especially from planned joint ventures in China and the USA, are not expected to impact results until the 2015/16 fiscal year. The resulting start-up costs will however be counted against the ongoing fiscal year", Schierack explains.

He fundamental expects continuing positive trends for 2014/15. "First quarter revenue and profits are expected to fall short of their y/y levels. The first quarter of 2013/14 saw tremendous revenue and profits from the best-seller 'Inferno' from Dan Brown, published in May 2013. That one book alone rang in roughly nine million euros in sales -- but Bastei Lübbe AG does not have a comparable best-seller in the pipeline for Q1 2014/2015. Based on our experience, though, the lower revenues from the first quarter will be more than recovered over the course of the entire 2014/15 reporting year through the expected revenue boosts in the second and third quarters. This includes for example a significant bump in sales and profits from a new book from best-selling author Ken Follett to be published in Q2 2014/15", Schierack says.

About Bastei Lübbe AG:
Bastei Lübbe AG is a media company organised around its publishing venture. The Cologne-based company currently has around 335 employees. It publishes books, audio books, ebooks and digital products in both the literary and popular science genres, as well as serialised novels and puzzle magazines. Bastei Lübbe is also actively involved in brand licensing and the development, production and distribution of gift, decoration and merchandising articles. Bastei Lübbe has for many years enjoyed an almost unbroken streak as the market leader in the growing segment of hard-cover literature; in 2013 its literary ebooks division was also ranked number one on the market. 2013 saw the company's 60th anniversary celebration and its launch as a publicly traded company. Shares of Bastei Lübbe AG are listed in the Prime Standard segment of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (WKN A1X3YY, ISIN DE000A1X3YY0).

Contact for Bastei Lübbe AG:
Barbara Fischer
Director of PR and
Event Marketing
Tel. :+49 (0) 221 / 82 00 28 50
E-Mail: barbara.fischer@luebbe. de

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