Lagardere reported Wednesday that EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) rose by 1 million euros in 2015 over 2014 in its publishing group, inching ahead to 198 million euros. The profit report follows the release earlier this year that revenue for its publishing division, which includes the Hachette Book Group, rose 1.7% in the year, to 2.21 billion euros.
As reported earlier, HBG sales slipped 0.3% last year thanks to a strong fourth quarter that offset softer sales in the first nine months of 2015. An increase in sales of print books countered a decline in e-book sales. In its earnings presentation, Lagardere said HBG’s operating performance was “disappointing,” which it attributed to the lower e-book sales.
In prepared remarks, HBG CEO Michael Pietsch noted that last week’s announcement of the acquisition of the Perseus publishing business—with its strength in nonfiction and deep backlist—was an important addition to HBG. Perseus “will bring us added resilience, and will counter the pressure on profits caused by lower e-book sales and higher marketing costs.” The Perseus purchase is expected to be completed by the end of March.
In 2015, HBG accounted for 25% of Lagardere publishing revenue, up from 24% in 2014.