Berlitz International's book publishing group had a loss before interest, taxes and amortization of $500,000 in 2000 compared to earnings of $700,000 in 1999, the company reported in its 10-k filing. Sales fell 18.6%, to $10.5 million.
The drop in sales and earnings was attributed to a decline in licensing revenues. Publishing chief Ellen Adler said that Berlitz has "fine tuned" its business model and is focusing on doing more of its own publishing in English-speaking markets. While several of Berlitz's competitors in the travel guide area have moved aggressively to the Web, Berlitz has held back developing an e-publishing program "until we find a way to do it profitably," said Adler.
Berlitz parent company Benesse Corp. continues to up the ante to buy the outstanding shares of Berlitz. In December the company offered $12 per share, upped the offer to $14.50 in April and last week said it will pay $16 per share. The tender offer will expire May 31, and Benesse said it will not raise its bid again.