Bastei Lübbe grows with high profitability in the 2020/2021 financial year

DGAP-News: Bastei Lübbe AG / Key word(s): Annual Results/Annual Report
13.07.2021 / 07:30
The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.

Bastei Lübbe grows with high profitability in the 2020/2021 financial year

- Significant increase in Group turnover by 13.7 percent to 92.7 million euros

- Focusing on the core business bears fruit

- Increase in profitability - Group EBIT rises from 4.1 to 10.9 million euros

- Dividend proposal of 29 cents per share

- Outlook: Slight growth in turnover with stable profitability


Cologne, 13 July 2021 - Bastei Lübbe AG (ISIN DE000A1X3YY0) today published its results for the 2020/2021 fiscal year and confirmed the preliminary figures. The Cologne-based trade publisher grew faster than the overall market in the past fiscal year and achieved consolidated sales of €92.7 million, an increase of 11.2 million or 13.7 per cent. The groups EBIT also increased significantly from 4.1 million euros to 10.9 million euros. Successful bestsellers, a broadly successful publishing programme and an increase in digital sales revenues were the main contributors to the very good earnings.

Successful focus on the publishing business

Since the beginning of the financial year, Bastei Lübbe has concentrated only on the publishing business via the classic channels and digital formats in eBook and audio. Bestselling authors such as Ken Follett, Dirk Rossmann and Jeff Kinney as well as demand for midlist titles have contributed to the pleasing development.

In the past financial year, which runs from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021, the book and novel booklet divisions achieved a consolidated turnover of € 92.7 million, compared to € 81.5 million in the previous year. This figure was significantly higher than the expectations at the beginning of the financial year, so that Bastei Lübbe raised its forecast twice during the year. Due to the pandemic the initial forecast has been prudent.

Group EBIT increased by 6.8 million euros to 10.9 million euros compared to the previous year. EBIT includes the one-off compensation payment from the settlement with former members of the supervisory and executive board, which had an effect on earnings in the amount of 1.1 million euros. The EBIT margin increased significantly from 5.1 per cent in the 2019/2020 business year to 11.7 per cent in 2020/2012.

"The past financial year impressively confirms our strategic orientation. The focus on a target group-oriented orientation to the needs and wishes of readers combined with the expansion of digital offerings is proving to be the right approach," said Joachim Herbst, Spokesman of the Executive Board of Bastei Lübbe AG, explaining the successful development. "The Corona pandemic has also had a significant impact on our business. We had to adapt our processes flexibly and at short notice. It paid off that we refrained from short-time work and programme cuts and instead reached our readers with numerous novelties and innovative digital formats together with our partners in the book trade, even during the crisis."

Further optimisation of the balance sheet and financing structure

In the past fiscal year 2020/2021, the Bastei Lübbe Group was able to further strengthen its financial solidity. Group equity rose by 15.3 million euros to 42.6 million euros. This corresponds to an equity ratio of 47.3 percent compared to 39.9 percent at the end of the previous period.

The operating cash flow improved from 10.4 million euros to 15.5 million. Euro and confirms the financial strength of the Group.

In the reporting period, Bastei Lübbe also replaced the existing syndicated loan and, with new loan financing, secured a reliable financing structure for the coming years at significantly more attractive conditions with greater flexibility at the same time.

Dividend proposal of 0.29 cents

As a result of the successful business development, the Executive Board and the Supervisory Board will propose to the Annual General Meeting the payment of a dividend of 0.29 cents per share. This will consist of the regular dividend of 0.25 cents as well as a special dividend of 0.04 cents as a distribution of the after-tax proceeds from the previously mentioned settlement payment. The total payout ratio is thus 46 per cent of distributable earnings and corresponds to a dividend yield of 5.52 per cent on the closing price on 8 July 2021. "We are pleased to be able to allow our shareholders to participate in the success of the company with a dividend this year and to position ourselves as an attractive dividend stock," Herbst continued. "The share's increase of over 200 per cent since 1. April 2021 shows the interest in our company."

Both segments contributed to the business success

In the Book segment, turnover rose by 11.7 million euros to 85.5 million euros in the past financial year. The growth in sales in the Book segment was spread across almost all focus group offerings of the various publishing brands. In the audio segment, the expected decline in sales of physical audio media was more than compensated for by growth in the digital channels. The Digital Programme, which essentially pursues the "eBook-only" strategy with the beHEARTBEAT and beTHRILLED brands, was also able to grow significantly with contemporary programme structures and serial content. EBIT in the Books segment was 9.7 million euros, an increase of 6.4 million euros over the previous year. This segment EBIT also includes the income from the settlement payments with the former Supervisory and Executive board members amounting to 1.1 million euros.

The sales forecast of the "Novel Booklets" segment was almost achieved with 7.2 million euros (previous year: 7.7 million euros), although numerous points of sale were temporarily closed due to the pandemic. The EBIT of this segment was 1.2 million euros and thus slightly below the previous year's value of 1.5 million euros. The previous year's figure includes one-time income from the sale of the puzzle division in the amount of 0.4 million euros.

Further growth in all markets

The COVID 19 pandemic had a strong impact on the book industry and especially on the stationary book trade in the past financial year with many changes in the general conditions. A positive signal for the industry is the fact that in the first quarter of the calendar year, politicians recognised the cultural asset of the book as systemically relevant in many federal states and thus made it possible for the stationary book trade to open up.

Bastei Lübbe has a varied programme on offer for the current financial year. The basis is the newly established multi-year programme strategy. With new books by Ken Follett and the follow-up novel by Dirk Rossmann, Bastei Lübbe has two bestselling authors in its autumn programme. In his new thriller "Never", Ken Follett unfolds a highly suspenseful plot that refers to the trouble spots of current world politics. Dirk Rossmann will continue the fictional scenario on possible solutions to the climate crisis with "Der Zorn des Oktopus". Already in April 2021, bestselling author Jeff Kinney published volume 3 of the Rupert Rowley series "Rowley Jefferson's Awesome Friendly Spooky Stories". Volume 16 of " Diary of a Wimpy Kid", the US author's globally successful children's book series, will follow in the 2021 Christmas trade. In the non-fiction sector, Bastei Lübbe is currently successful with socio-political impulses as well as gripping life stories. The publishing house is confident that it will continue to launch short-term bestsellers in the non-fiction sector in the coming months. The Lübbe Audio division has so far continued to develop very successfully within the framework of the generally positive market developments in the audio book segment and will benefit additionally from bestsellers such as "Never". With the acquisition of Business Hub Berlin UG (smarticular) in December 2020, an innovative publishing model was successfully integrated into the Bastei Lübbe Group. The online platforms smarticular.net and kostbarenatur.net provide important impetus for the smarticular publishing portfolio in the area of sustainability.

Forecast confirmed

Future restrictions due to the Corona pandemic as a result of a possible fourth wave cannot be foreseen at present. With rising vaccination rates and confidence in an overall economic recovery, the Executive Board of Bastei Lübbe AG expects the two segments of books and novel booklets to achieve the sales targets set.

Based on the programme planning described above, the Bastei Lübbe Group is aiming for a slight increase in turnover in the current financial year 2021/2022 with a range between 90 and 95 million euros. This is associated with a target EBIT of between 11 and 12 million euros.

In the medium term, the Executive Board is aiming for a growth in turnover to approximately 100 million euros with the goal of permanently generating an EBIT margin of at least 10 percent for the Group. In addition, the balance sheet ratios - in particular the equity ratio and gearing - are to remain at a level commensurate with the company's risk.

The complete 2020/2021 Annual Report of Bastei Lübbe AG is available on the Internet at

About Bastei Lübbe AG:

Bastei Lübbe AG is a German trade publisher based in Cologne, specialising in the publication of books, audio books and eBooks with fiction and popular science content. The company's core business also includes periodical novel booklets. With its total of fifteen publishing brands, the corporate group currently has several thousand titles in the fiction, non-fiction and children's and youth book segments on offer. In the growing segment of hardcover fiction, the company has been one of the market leaders in Germany for many years. At the same time, Bastei Lübbe is an innovation driver in the area of digital media and exploitation channels, among other things through the production of thousands of audio and eBooks.

With an annual turnover of around 93 million euros (financial year 2020/2021), Bastei Lübbe AG is one of the largest medium-sized publishing companies in Germany. Since 2013, the company's shares have been listed in the Prime Standard of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (WKN A1X3YY, ISIN DE000A1X3YY0). Further information can be found at www.luebbe.de.

Contact Bastei Lübbe AG:

Barbara Fischer
Head of Press and Public Relations
Phone: +49 (0)221 8200 2850
E-mail: barbara.fischer@luebbe.deba

13.07.2021 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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