Lagardère announces full year 2019 results

Paris-February 27, 2020

Lagardère announced their 2019 full-year revenue and profits today. Highlights are as follows:

Hachette Book Group CEO Michael Pietsch commented “Hachette Book Group’s profit growth in 2019 was propelled by excellent performances in our adult and children’s publishing divisions, at Hachette Audio, and by continued focus on efficiency.

Despite a challenging comparison to 2018, which featured the major fiction hits The President Is Missing by President Bill Clinton and James Patterson and Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks, in 2019 we achieved almost the same level of revenues, led by news-driving nonfiction bestsellers including Malcolm Gladwell’s Talking to Strangers, A Warning by Anonymous, Ronan Farrow’s Catch and Kill, and Donald Trump Jr.’s Triggered.  Fiction top sellers included James Patterson’s 18th Abduction and Criss Cross, three novels from David Baldacci (Redemption, One Good Deed, and A Minute to Midnight), and Michael Connelly’s The Night Fire.  We also saw exceptional sales from our backlist, notably Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko, Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, Jen Sincero’s You Are a Badass, Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette, and Admiral William McRaven’s Make Your Bed. Downloadable audio continued its steady upward trend with a 28% increase in 2019, led by Talking to Strangers, which has held the #1 slot on the New York Times Audio Bestseller list for seven months.

HBG grew in exciting ways in 2019 – launching new imprints Voracious and Hachette Go!, signing a major new distribution client, Lonely Planet, expanding consumer engagement with our books and authors through new marketing approaches, and deepening our focus on the diversity of our HBG community and of our publishing programs.

We’ve built on 2019’s successes with important developments in the first quarter of 2020 – Little, Brown Books for Young Readers’ acquisition of a list of over 1,200 backlist and 100 forthcoming titles from Disney Book Group, and signing National Geographic as a distribution client. And it has been a thrill to see explosive sales for Andrzej Sapkowski’s novels, sparked by the Netflix debut of The Witcher, the streaming channel’s second most watched series of 2019.

Major upcoming releases include Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi’s Stamped: Racism, Anti-Racism, and You, Marie Kondo’s Joy At Work, James Patterson’s Summer House, Harlan Coben’s The Boy from the Woods, N.K. Jemisin’s The City We Became, and Elin Hilderbrand’s 28 Summers, among many others.”

At Hachette Livre:

Hachette Livre delivered revenue of €2.384 billion in 2019, up 2.8% like-for-like over 2018 (up 5.9 % on a consolidated basis).

France: 2019 revenue grew 6.3% in France spurred by a sharp rise in Education, a solid increase in Illustrated Books and a good performance at Hachette Pratique, Hachette Jeunesse Licences, Larousse, and General Literature. Mobile Games also continued to generate momentum.

United States: revenue slipped 1.0% in the US. According to Lagardère’s press release, “A sharp rise in revenue from digital audiobooks led by Malcolm Gladwell’s Talking to Strangers, as well as the success of Andrzej Sapkowski’s The Witcher at Orbit late in the year, only partially offset the unfavorable comparison effect with 2018, which had been boosted by the remarkable success of James Patterson and Bill Clinton’s The President is Missing and by the publication of Nicholas Sparks’s Every Breath.”

United Kingdom: revenue fell 1.4% in the UK, “as solid performances for the backlist and for digital sales at Bookouture and the success of Billy Connolly’s Tall Tales and Wee Stories late in the year failed to offset an unfavorable comparison effect resulting from the success of Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury in 2018 and of the J.K. Rowling/Robert Galbraith titles published in fourth quarter 2018.”

Spain/Latin America posted 10.3% revenue growth, spurred by curriculum reform in Spain and by the launch of the new Asterix album at Bruño.

Partworks delivered revenue growth of 4.9%, reflecting the good performance of first-half launches (particularly models and leisure crafts) in Japan, Germany and France.

Ebooks accounted for 7.7% of total Lagardère Publishing revenue in 2019 versus 7.9% in 2018, while digital audiobooks represented 3.4% of revenue versus 2.7% in 2018.

The Publishing division’s recurring EBIT of €220 million is an increase of €20 million compared with 2018. “Recurring EBIT growth was led mainly by France, with Illustrated Books buoyed by publication of a new Asterix album and Education by high school reform, as well as by Spain (new primary school textbooks) and the United States (growth in audiobooks and operating cost efficiency plan). Recurring EBIT for the division also benefited from a positive foreign exchange effect resulting from the appreciation of the US dollar,” according to the release.

At Lagardère:

Lagardère reported revenue of €7.211 billion in 2019, up 4.1% like for like. The company delivered profit of €378 million, down €7 million compared to 2018. Excluding scope and foreign exchange effects, recurring EBIT increased 5.6% or €17 million, “lifted by a strong year at Lagardère Publishing in both Illustrated Books and Education, as well as improved profitability for US operations,” and in the Travel Retail division.

First quarter 2020 revenue will be announced on April 30.

For more details, read Lagardère’s press release.