Operating in a fiscal year dominated by the Covid-19 pandemic, John Wiley & Sons reported a 6% increase in revenue in the year ended April 30, 2021, over fiscal 2020. The full year sales gain was boosted by a 13% increase in the fourth quarter. Both the quarter and full year results benefited from acquisitions made during the year, as well as the favorable impact of foreign exchange.
Total sales for the year were $1.94 billion. The publisher posted an operating income of $185 million compared to a loss of $54 million in fiscal 2020, a figure that included a restructuring charge of $202 million.
In prepared remarks, Wiley CEO and president Brian Napack credited the strong performance to Wiley’s “growth strategies in open research and career-connected education,” which “took firm root and benefited from long-term trends pulled forward by Covid.” The company’s largest group, research publishing and platforms, had a 7% increase in the year, to $972. 5 million, led by growth in open access publishing.
Sales in the academic and professional learning group fell 1%, to $644.5 million, as a 3% increase in the academic division was offset by a 6% decline in professional learning sales, as the pandemic caused a decline in in-person learning. The division had a particularly strong fourth quarter, with sales up 15%, driven by, Wiley reported, “strong growth in education publishing and trade publishing, accompanied by further recovery in corporate training.”
Education services sales jumped 21%, to $281.6 million, helped by acquisitions.
Wiley is predicting that revenue will top $2 billion for the first time in fiscal 2022 ,with mid-to-high single digit growth anticipated for research publishing and platforms, low-single digit growth for academic and professional learning, and low-teens growth for education services. The company expects only modest gains in profitability in the year, noting that profit improvement “will be tempered by investments to accelerate growth initiatives, as well as higher T&E expenses due to the resumption of in-person business activities.”