A soft school and library market limited sales growth to about 1%, to $43.5 million, at Haights Cross Communications for the third quarter ended September 30. Cost-cutting initiatives implemented earlier this year resulted in a 10% gain in EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) for the period, said Tim McEwen, executive v-p and chief operating officer. McEwen added that the fourth quarter started on a strong note, with sales to schools and libraries "bouncing back" in October.
Sales in Haights Cross's Recorded Books subsidiary held steady in the quarter and were up 17.4% for the nine months ended September 30. Sales at Newbridge Educational Publishers continued to do well in the quarter and were up 17.6% for the first nine months of the year. In addition to steady contributions from its Discovery Links programs, Newbridge began seeing sales from its new Go Facts guided writing series in the quarter. Sales at Sundance Publishing were off for the nine-month period.
At Triumph Learning, growth was driven by sales of its test prep books in Texas and Georgia and by the introduction of new series in Colorado, Kentucky and Tennessee. Sales at Chelsea House continued soft in the quarter, but Haights Cross was hoping for a lift in the fourth quarter from its 160-title fall list that shipped in August. Chelsea House plans to release 345 new titles next year.
Total revenue for the nine-month period rose 10%, to $130.6 million, with EBITDA up 20%.