Hodder boosted by Le Carre: The Investment Column
Wednesday 15 January 1997
It was sales of hardback blockbusters such as these that were behind a 9 per cent increase in like-for-like sales in the last quarter of 1996. Sales were also 9 per cent ahead in the 12 months to 31 December.
But, healthy as these figures were, Hodder will need a few more statements like it to help win back the friends it lost in 1995 when a profits warning knocked a third off the share price. The shares have been going nowhere ever since as investors have stayed away.
At the time of the warning, Hodder blamed destocking by big customers such as WH Smith and a rise in the price of paper for its dented margins. This was true but not the whole story. Some of the problems were self- inflicted, with poor stock control and a poor mix of sales which was skewed towards lower-margin exports. There was also an element of letting the market run away with over-optimistic expectations after Hodder made a fortune out of Schindler's List.
But things seem to have changed at Hodder. There is a new finance director and a more cautious approach at the company.
However, investors may need a little longer to forget the trials of the recent past. While the collapse of the net book agreement has led to a significant rise in hardback fiction, the market as a whole has increased only modestly.
The good news for Hodder is that, while the demise of the NBA caused more upheaval than anticipated, Hodder should ultimately benefit as it has a strong presence in hardback fiction.
House broker NatWest is forecasting full-year profits of pounds 6.5m this year. With shares up 5p to 225p yesterday, they trade on a forward rating of 17. High enough.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
- 1 Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
- 2 Loom bands: Bids for dress made from colourful rubber pass £170,000 on eBay
- 3 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 4 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
- 5 The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week
Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
Loom bands: Bids for dress made from colourful rubber pass £170,000 on eBay
Supermoon 2014: When and why will the moon look bigger and brighter this summer?
Gaza-Israel conflict: The terrible price Palestinian children are paying for Israel’s war with Hamas
Iraq crisis: Government forces execute 255 Sunni prisoners in revenge for Isis atrocities, says report
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
iJobs Money & Business
£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...
£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...
£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows...
£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Windows, Active Dire...