Operating profits at Gill and Macmillan drop 95%


PUBLISHING COMPANY Gill and Macmillan Limited has reported a 95 per cent fall in operating profits for the year ended December 31st, 2008.

Accounts filed at the Companies Office yesterday show operating profits at the company in 2008 were €40,448 compared to €780,176 the previous year.

Pretax profits at the company fell to €126,257 in 2008 from €780,176 the previous year, while sales were 12.5 per cent lower. Chief executive Dermot O’Dwyer said the company was “confident about future growth prospects”, however.

He stressed that margins had remained at similar levels to 2007 and the company had a strong balance sheet. “Like many companies, we have been hit by a fall in sales. The drop reflects a slowdown in the market generally. But we have a very healthy cash position, and no bank debt,” Mr O’Dwyer said yesterday.

Gill and Macmillan is one of Ireland’s best-known publishers. The history of the company dates back to the mid-19th century when Michael Henry Gill set up a book-selling business in Dublin.

Today, the company’s activities are divided into an educational books division which represents approximately two-thirds of its market, with the remainder focusing on the production of non-fiction books aimed at the general reader.

According to the filed accounts, sales of general non-fiction titles fell by 18.4 per cent last year while education sales were down by 9.6 per cent on 2007 levels.

Mr O’Dwyer said the fall in the sales of the company’s general titles was attributable to a deterioration in the general book market, while the decline in the sale of the company’s academic books may be due to funding cuts by the Department of Education. Last year the Department of Education discontinued specific grants for book-rental schemes in schools.