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Mediocre Results From Harlequin
Jim Milliot -- 11/17/97
Torstar reported that sales from its Harlequin book publishing subsidiary fell 8.8% in the third quarter, to C$125.9 million, although operating profits inched ahead to C$21 million from C$20.2 million. Torstar reported that the profit improvement was due to lower paper costs as well as lower sales and marketing expenses in North America.
Sales for the first nine months of the year were down 5%, to C$370.3 million, but operating profit was up 2%, to C$62.4 million.

Doings at Troll

The quarter also saw the effect of Torstar's Troll purchase on its supplementary education group. Sales in the period rose to C$65.4 million from C$14.8 million in the comparable period in 1996. A combination of lower sales from Schaffer plus integration costs and losses associated with the Troll purchase pushed operating profit down to C$310,000 from C$2.2 million. Torstar noted that Troll historically loses money in the third quarter, when school is not in session.

Troll, which is now headed by Brian Hickey, has undergone some personnel changes recently. William Gross, who had been part owner of Troll, as well as chief financial officer, before the sale to Torstar, left the company earlier this fall. In addition, Nikki Basilone, who joined Troll as v-p and general manager for the school and library, and trade divisions earlier this year, is leaving the company to become v-p of special sales for the Hearst Book Group, effective December 1.
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