Dorling in clash over distribution problem

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A FURIOUS row broke out yesterday between the publisher Dorling Kindersley and its main UK distributor, Tiptree Book Services, writes Gail Counsell.

Dorling, reporting a pounds 706,000 fall in first-half profits to pounds 3.5m, pointed to problems with Tiptree's distribution to bookshops, especially to DK Family Library, Dorling's direct-sales operation.

But Tiptree said it refused to be made a scapegoat for Dorling's failure to meet shareholder expectations. A distributor's performance should be judged in terms of the amount of product distributed rather than profit margins, it said.

Dorling's turnover had risen from pounds 38.6m to pounds 45.1m, it said, adding that it only handled 20 per cent of Dorling's sales.

Peter Gill, Dorling's finance director, said if it had not been for the Tiptree problems more profits would have been available to cover increased investment. 'Also, 20 per cent of pounds 45m is a hell of a lot of turnover,' he added.

Tiptree said it had not yet received a formal claim but it would be misleading to suggest any compensation would have a significant effect on Dorling's bottom line.

The interim dividend is held at 1.1p. The shares rose 2p to 266p.