Bastei Lübbe AG publishes half-year report 2017/2018: Revenue and earnings growth despite increased challenges

DGAP-News: Bastei Lübbe AG / Key word(s): Half Year Results

21.11.2017 / 07:30
The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.

Bastei Lübbe AG publishes half-year report 2017/2018:
Revenue and earnings growth despite increased challenges

- Consolidated revenue climbs to EUR 69.1 million (previous year: EUR 66.2 million)

- Group EBITDA improves to EUR 5.9 million (previous year: EUR 4.1 million)

- Write-down on oolipo negatively impacts Group earnings

Cologne, 21 November 2017. Bastei Lübbe AG (ISIN DE000A1X3YY0), which is listed in the Prime Standard of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, publishes its half-year report for the period from 1 April to 30 September 2017 today. In the first half of 2017/2018, the Cologne-based media group generated growth in operating revenue and earnings - despite increased challenges.

Revenue performance
In detail, Bastei Lübbe generated consolidated revenue of EUR 69.1 million in the first six months of the 2017/2018 financial year (previous year: EUR 66.2 million). This corresponds to a revenue increase of 4.4%, while the growth rate after adjustment for the discontinued "Non-Book" segment came to 21.6%. In view of the significant growth in the "Book" and "Digital" segments, Bastei Lübbe recorded a successful first half of 2017/2018. While the "Digital" segment posted the strongest growth with revenue rising by 107.1% to EUR 5.8 million (previous year: EUR 2.9 million), the "Book" segment, which has also included Bastei Lübbe AG's digital e-book and audio product revenue since 1 April 2017, grew by 46.7% to EUR 45.3 million (previous year: EUR 31.4 million). The main growth drivers were the launch of the latest blockbusters from global bestselling authors Ken Follett with "A Column of Fire" and Dan Brown with "ORIGIN", which were released in September and early October 2017 respectively. The success of the subsidiary Daedalic with its hit game "The Long Journey Home" also contributed to the Group's growth.

In the "Retail" segment, revenue was down year-on-year at EUR 14.7 million after EUR 19.2 million. This drop was primarily attributable to an increase in the number of returns in promotions and weak orders in bestseller business. In a generally declining market sector, revenue in the "Novel Booklets and Puzzle Magazines" segment decreased slightly by 4.3% to EUR 4.7 million (previous year: EUR 5.0 million). The discontinued "Non-Book" segment did not post any revenue in the reporting period (previous year: EUR 9.3 million).

Earnings performance
The Bastei Lübbe Group generated earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of EUR 5.9 million in the reporting period from 1 April 2017 to 30 September 2017 (previous year: EUR 4.1 million). The "Book" segment contributed EUR 5.5 million (previous year: EUR 1.5 million), the "Digital" segment EUR 1.5 million (previous year: EUR -0.8 million), the "Non-Book" segment EUR -0.2 million (previous year: EUR 1.5 million), "Novel Booklets and Puzzle Magazines" EUR 1.0 million (previous year: EUR 1.2 million) and "Retail" EUR -1.9 million (previous year: EUR -0.4 million).

The Group's earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) amounted to EUR -0.3 million in the first half of the 2017/2018 financial year (previous year: EUR 1.9 million). This decline was mainly due to the unplanned write-downs on oolipo's intangible assets in the amount of EUR 3.0 million that were recorded in the second quarter. These write-downs had to be recognised because the expected and necessary user figures were not yet achieved.

Net profit for the period amounted to EUR -2.0 million (previous year: EUR 0.7 million). After EUR 0.09 in the previous year, earnings per share came to EUR -0.06 (with reference to the net period earnings attributable to shareholders of Bastei Lübbe AG) in the reporting period.

Net assets
As at 30 September 2017, the total assets of Bastei Lübbe AG were up 5.2% at EUR 153.6 million (previous year: EUR 146.1 million). This increase is particularly attributable to the rise in current liabilities to finance working capital. Non-current liabilities, particularly financial liabilities, decreased by EUR 2.3 million. The increase in non-current assets of EUR 1.9 million, chiefly relating to advance payments for authors' fees of EUR 5.0 million, was offset by a decline in intangible assets as a result of the write-downs on oolipo in the amount of EUR 3.5 million. As at 30 September 2017, equity excluding non-controlling interests amounted to EUR 49.0 million (31 March 2017: EUR 50.1 million).

Outlook: increased challenges, Christmas business crucial
The new CEO Carel Halff sees the performance in the first half of the 2017 financial year as a sign of the radical changes faced by Bastei Lübbe AG: "In parts of the Group, earnings in the first half of 2017/2018 only just met our expectations. The extraordinary write-down at oolipo is unpleasant. Nevertheless, dealing with technological change has always been a rocky road for providers of established media products, but it often leads to innovative additional offers in the end. Our goal remains unchanged of continuously analysing, expanding and generally improving our product range." With regard to the targets for the year, he adds: "The challenges we face to achieve our targets have undoubtedly increased. Like every year, the third quarter with its highly important Christmas business will be crucial. Bastei Lübbe AG is in a good position with the current blockbusters, especially Ken Follett's 'A Column of Fire' and Dan Brown's 'Origin'."

All in all, the Management Board still anticipates revenue of around EUR 160 million in the 2017/2018 financial year (previous year: EUR 146.3 million). It must be borne in mind that roughly EUR 15 million in revenue was lost year-on-year as the "Räder" segment was discontinued in the current financial year. With regard to EBITDA, too, our stated goal is still to significantly exceed the previous year's figure of EUR 5.4 million and generate EBITDA on a scale of at least EUR 14 million. In order to meet this forecast, all segments of the Group must achieve their planning targets for the last two quarters of the financial year.

The full half-year report 2017/2018 is available online at https://www.luebbe.com/de/investor-relations/finanzberichte.

About Bastei Lübbe AG:

Bastei Lübbe AG is an internationally active media group with headquarters in Cologne. Its business activities primarily focus on the development and licencing of contents which are sold worldwide in physical and digital formats. The core business of the company in the book segment covers classic publishing and periodically published puzzle magazines and novels. With its total of twelve publishing houses and imprints, the company group currently offers around 3,600 titles in the areas of fiction, non-fiction as well as books for children and young adults. In the growing segment of hardcover fiction books, the company has been the market leader in Germany for many years. At the same time, Bastei Lübbe is an engine for innovation in the area of digital media. Apart from the production of thousands of audio and ebooks, the "digital" business unit also maintains participations in the self-publishing platform "BookRix" and the renowned game publisher "Daedalic Entertainment". The digital value-added chain of Bastei Lübbe AG is rounded off through its participation in the online shop "beam-ebooks.de".

With annual sales of approx. 146.3 million euros (financial year 2016/2017), Bastei Lübbe AG is the largest medium-sized family-run publishing business in Germany. The shares of the company have been listed in the Prime Standard segment on the Frankfurt stock exchange (GSIN A1X3YY, ISIN DE000A1X3YY0) since 2013. Further information is available at www.luebbe.de.

Contact Bastei Lübbe AG:
Barbara Fischer
Head of Press and Public Relations
Tel.: 0221 / 82 00 28 50
E-Mail: barbara.fischer@luebbe.de


21.11.2017 Dissemination of a Corporate News, transmitted by DGAP - a service of EQS Group AG.
The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.

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