Boosey strikes high note as pre-tax profits rise to pounds 4.2m

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The Independent Online
THE surprise popularity of Gorecki's Symphony No 3 proved the icing on the cake for Boosey & Hawkes, the music publisher and instrument maker, which saw pre-tax profits rise 5.4 per cent to pounds 4.2m in 1992.

Revenue from royalties on the Gorecki recording - which has sold more than 250,000 copies worldwide and made it into the Top 10 of the pop charts - will not flow through to the accounts until this year, but Boosey's chief executive, Richard Holland, said the company had made about pounds 50,000 on the work so far.

He added that the growing popularity of contemporary 'serious' music augured well for Boosey, which has a high-quality catalogue of rights to work by composers from Rachmaninoff, Bartok and Britten to living artists such as Peter Maxwell Davies and John Adams.

Mr Holland reported that the company is proceeding with its lawsuit in the US against Disney, which it is suing for more than dollars 200m ( pounds 130m) for releasing a video version of Fantasia, which contains a modified version of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring.

Boosey owns the rights to Stravinsky's work, and the company argues that the composer authorised the use of his celebrated ballet score only for the film version. Video had yet to be invented when the film was originally released in 1941.

The music publishing division remained the growth provider of the group. Turnover rose 11.2 per cent to pounds 11.7m, generating a 6.7 per cent rise in operating profits to pounds 3.9m.

The much larger instruments division suffered a 4.5 per cent drop in operating profits to pounds 2.9m, despite a 10.5 per cent increase in sales to pounds 47.7m.

Mr Holland said the division was hit by strong price competition, resulting in lower margins. But there were signs that the Japanese market was returning to stability after dealer de-stocking last year.

He added that Boosey hoped for strong growth from its low base in the US.

Currency movements following the sterling crisis in October had a net adverse effect on the results of about pounds 200,000, despite a boost of pounds 200,000 from translation of foreign earnings.

But Mr Holland said devaluation was of long-term benefit to the group.

A lower tax charge boosted earnings per share beyond the level suggested by the pre-tax profits to 67.5p (62.5p).

The dividend rises 10 per cent to 22p. The shares stayed at 1170p, having risen from a low of 865p at the end of September.

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