Sales in Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s trade segment rose 9.8% in the second quarter ended June 30, over the comparable period in 2016. Revenue in the period was $42.4 million, up from $38.7 million in the previous year.
The increase in sales led to an improved bottom line. EBITDA (earnings before interest, depreciation, and amortization) rose to $2.7 million in the quarter, up from $0.3 million in the second period of 2016. The net loss in the unit was trimmed to $0.7 million, from $2.9 million.
HMH attributed the improved financial performance to sales of David Ortiz's autobiography Papi, as well as the latest edition to the Tolkien anthology Beren and Luthien. The publisher's e-book sales were also up in the quarter, led by The Handmaid’s Tale. Margaret Atwood's novel, which has been given new life thanks in part to its current TV adaptation, also helped to drive up backlist sales, HMH said.
Sales in the larger educational publishing segment fell to $350 million, from $353 million in the same period last year. Adjusted EBITDA in the group, for the three months ended June 30, decreased 3.4%. Net income, however, rose 8.3%, to $23.3 million.
For the entire company, total sales in the quarter were up by $1 million, to $393 million. Nonetheless, adjusted EBITDA fell 3.3%, to $73 million.
HMH is in undergoing a company-wide restructuring program that began in the first quarter and picked up speed in the second period. During that period, the publisher laid off over 20 people in the trade division. (In the same round of layoffs, HMH also cut an undisclosed number of employees from its education group.) Earlier in the year, the company said it would lay off between 8-10% of its 4,500-person workforce. To account for the restructuring, HMH took a charge of $33.9 million in the quarter, which included $14.04 million in severance charges.