Three one-time expenses contributed to a loss of $3.4 million at Courier Corp. in the second quarter ended March 29, 2014, compared to last year’s second period.
The write-offs included a $1.9 million impairment charge associated with the company's purchase of the self-publishing platform FastPencil. Another write-off was for $825,000 due to the collapse of the distributor HDA, which places titles in the home improvement channel.
The third factor was additional depreciation costs associated with the expansion of its digital printing capacity. Total sales in the quarter were $61.4 million, down from $61.8 million in last year’s quarter.
In explaining the writedown of FastPencil, which Courier Corp. bought in April 2013, Courier CEO James Conway said that "while FastPencil’s enterprise-level sales are taking longer than we had hoped, the company’s innovative technology platform continues to gain traction in the large and growing community of self-publishers.” Courier paid $5 million for FastPencil and the deal include provisions for additional payouts over the next five years if the company hit certain performance targets.
Total second quarter publishing revenue fell to $9.0 million from $9.4 million as sales at its Creative Homeowner unit were badly hurt by the collapse of HAD. Sales at Dover also declined in the quarter, while sales of REA rose. For the first half of fiscal 2014 publishing sales were down 2%, to $18 million.
In Courier’s book manufacturing segment, second quarter sales fell 1% to $55.4 million compared to last year’s second quarter. The segment’s operating loss was $718,000, including a loss of $900,000 at FastPencil, compared to operating income of $1.4 million a year ago. Additional factors affecting earnings included a tight pricing environment and over $1 million of additional depreciation and amortization expense, primarily due to recent investments in expanding digital capacity.
“Despite the quarter’s challenges, our financial condition remains strong and we face the second half of the fiscal year well positioned for the demand we foresee," said chairman Jim Conway in a statement.