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Lagardère announces fourth quarter 2018 results

Paris-February 7, 2018

Lagardère announced fourth quarter and full-year 2018 revenues today. See highlights below:

At Hachette Book Group: 

CEO Michael Pietsch said, “HBG’s strong fourth quarter capped another year of solid revenue growth.  The final quarter was lively, with #1 bestselling novels from Nicholas Sparks, Michael Connelly, James Patterson, Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling), and Neil Patrick Harris, newsmaking political hits from Pete Souza and Cory Lewandowski, and backlist powerhouses including Jen Sincero’s You Are a Badass, Madeline Miller’s Circe, and Hugo Award-winner N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy. It was especially thrilling to publish the #1 bestselling novel of 2018, Bill Clinton and James Patterson’s The President Is Missing, and this year’s Pulitzer Prize-winner for fiction, Less by Andrew Sean Greer, both of which sold strongly through Q4.  And we welcomed the Christian publisher Worthy Books to our Hachette Nashville division.

Once again, we saw significant growth in downloadable audio.  And, as always, our distribution clients had major hits including Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Meltdown from Abrams and Sherri Duskey Rinker’s Construction Site on Christmas Night from Chronicle.

2019 has started superbly, with Little Brown Books for Young Readers bringing home an unprecedented fourth Caldecott Medal in the past five years, for Sophie Blackall’s Hello Lighthouse. And the year holds a powerful lineup of new books from David Baldacci, Holly Black, Sandra Brown, Harlan Coben, James S.A. Corey, Michael Connelly, Jared Diamond, Malcolm Gladwell, Thomas Harris, Elin Hilderbrand, Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, James Patterson, and many other important and bestselling writers.  It’s going to be an exciting year!”

At Hachette Livre:

Hachette Livre delivered revenue of €2.252 billion in 2018, down 1.2% like-for-like over 2017 (down 1.6 % on a consolidated basis). The difference between these two figures reflects a €40 million negative foreign exchange effect, partially offset by a €30 million positive scope impact from the acquisitions of Jessica Kingsley, Summersdale, Kyle Cathie, and Bookouture in the UK and Worthy Publishing in the US.

As expected, the slight decline in business in 2018 is due to the absence of curriculum reform in France and to a lesser extent in Spain; also, the success of Astérix et la Transitalique in 2017 in these same regions created an unfavorable comparison. “These factors were partly countered by good momentum in the United States, driven by the success of best-selling titles such as the Bill Clinton and James Patterson novel The President is Missing and Nicholas Sparks’ Every Breath, along with good performances at Perseus,” according toLagardère’s press release.

For full year 2018, Education was down 13.4% or €49 million, with the decline offset in part by a strong performance from General Literature, which gained 2.2% or €22 million.

In the fourth quarter, Hachette Livre delivered revenues of €645 million, up 1.4% like-for-like (up 3.4% on a consolidated basis), with the difference between the two figures due primarily to a €10 million positive scope effect, which includes the Worthy Publishing, Kyle Cathie, Jessica Kingsley and Summersdale acquisitions. On a like-for-like basis, the main changes in each geographic area are as follows:

  • In France: Q4 revenue held firm (down 0.7%) due mainly to the success of Michelle Obama’s Becoming and to a good performance for Livre de Poche paperbacks, which more than offset an unfavorable prior-year comparison effect (successful 2017 publications of Astérix et la Transitalique, Dan Brown’s Origin and E.L. James’ Darker).
  • In the US: “Strong 6.3% growth essentially reflects a good backlist performance, in particular further success for Jen Sincero’s You are a Badass at Perseus. A busy schedule of new title releases also helped lift growth, particularly Nicholas Sparks’ Every Breath at Grand Central Publishing,” according to Lagardère’s press release.
  • In the UK: good business momentum (up 8.9%) was mainly driven by the success of General Literature, particularly J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, and Stephen Hawking’s Brief Answers to the Big Questions.
  • In Spain/Latin America: business was up slightly, gaining 2.3%.
  • Partworks: revenue fell 4.6% due to a limited number of new launches compared to 2017 and to the slowdown in business in Argentina following the devaluation of the peso.
  • Ebooks: accounted for 7.9% of total Lagardère Publishing revenue in 2018, versus 7.1% in 2017. Digital audiobooks represented 2.7% of revenue versus 2.0% in 2017.

At Lagardère:

Lagardère delivered fourth quarter revenues of €1.997 billion, up 2.1% like for like against Q4 2017 (up 4.1% on a consolidated basis).

The company reported revenues of €7.258 billion in 2018, up 3.3% like for like (up 2.5% on a consolidated basis) compared to prior year. The difference between consolidated and like-for-like revenue is attributable to a negative foreign exchange effect; changes in the scope of consolidation had a positive impact on revenue, due chiefly to acquisitions in the Publishing and Travel Retail divisions, partially offset by divestments at Lagardère Active.

Full year results including profit will be released on March 13.

 

For more details, read Lagardère’s press release.