With all three of its major operating groups posting at least some gains in the fiscal year ended April 30, John Wiley & Sons reported a 3% increase in revenue, to $1.74 billion, with net income rising 20%, to $171.9 million. Results include the impact of foreign exchange which curtailed gains slightly. Wiley benefited, however, from increasing digital sales as noted by Stephen Smith who took over as CEO earlier this spring following the retirement of Will Pesce. “The shift to digital continues to enhance all of our businesses, resulting in new revenue models, new opportunities in emerging markets, and margin and working capital improvements,” Smith said in a prepared statement.
In the professional/trade group, revenue rose 2% to $437.1 million, despite a 3% decline in fourth quarter sales that the company attributed in part to Borders’s problems. Earlier in the fiscal year, Wiley took a $9 million bad debt charge to account for Borders’s bankruptcy. In the year, total digital revenue, which includes e-book sales, online advertising and content licensing, accounted for 10% of the group’s revenue, roughly $44 million, compared to 7% in fiscal 2010. E-book sales alone rose to $23 million, including a 145% increase in the fourth quarter to $9 million, 8% of group sales.
In the P/T group’s major categories, business grew 6% to $36 million, with “outstanding growth” in digital sales, Wiley said. Sales in the consumer category fell 7%, to $32 million, due in large part to the Borders disruption (Wiley had expected Borders to account for 5% of sales before shipments to the chain were stopped in December). Sales in the technology category fell 10% to $22 million against a very strong prior year, while sales in the professional education market grew 3% to $7 million, mainly due to Doug Lemov’s Teach like a Champion. Sales in the architecture segment were down 6% to $4 million, and sales in psychology fell 3% to $3 million.
In its largest group, Scientific/Technical/Medical/Scholarly, sales rose 1%, to $998.9 million. Top-line results were driven by increased journal subscriptions, new journal society business and digital book growth, which rose 74% in the year and now accounts for 16% of division book sales. Overall, digital revenue, which accounts for 81% of journal sales, was 59% of S/T/M/S sales in the year.
The higher education group posted a 9% sales gain, to $306.6 million. The results were driven by increased student enrollment, strong back-list sales driven by 25% revenue growth in non-traditional and digital products and a strong front list in engineering/computer science and science categories. In the digital area, e-book sales rose 122%, to $13 million, while sales from WileyPlus rose 8% to $33 million, with digital-only billings of WileyPlus accounting for 40% of billings or $13 million.
Looking ahead to fiscal 2012, Wiley said that excluding foreign exchange, we expect mid-single digit revenue growth and EPS in a range from $3.15 to $3.20.