Diversification into sectors such as education materials and e-books has paid off for Swindon-based Smiths News, the UK’s largest newspaper and magazine wholesaler, with annual underlying profits, cashflow and earnings all up by more than 20%.
The performance in the year to August 31 was ahead of market expectations with the acquisition of Trowbridge-based The Consortium in April giving it access to growing markets in schools and healthcare. A new contract agreed with News International in August secured annual revenues of £200m until 2019.
Pre-tax profits rose by 14% to £36.6m on sales up 4% to £1.8bn. Its core newspaper business was buoyed by higher sales linked to the Olympics, Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and Euro 2012.
“Our more recent acquisition of The Consortium represents another step forward in our diversification strategy as we look to broaden our market reach in new areas of specialist distribution. Looking ahead, we have a clear strategy for growth with opportunities in all our divisions.”
Bertrams outperformed market trends, helped by the acquisition of Dawson Books and a strong trading performance from international sales, its library services division and in academic digital e-book sales.
Sales at The Consortium rose 8.1% to £26.5m with profits of £3.6m, up 9.7%. The performance was driven by a good performance from its core education segment which increased 9% and early years up 8%. Care, representing only 5% of the business, produced a strong performance growing revenue by 28%.