I have long been a fan of big yielder Bloomsbury Publishing (LSE: BMY) and, thanks to a bubbly trading statement Tuesday, my faith in the books behemoth has received an extra shot in the arm.
The Harry Potter publisher announced that total revenues rose 15% during March-August to £72.1m, a result that powered pre-tax profit to £1.7m from £100,000 a year earlier.
Bloomsbury had the brilliant wizard to thank again for its sterling six-month performance. Sales across its Consumer division boomed 20% to £44.7m, due to an “outstanding” improvement in Children’s Trade revenues (up 33% in the first half).
The London business advised that J.K. Rowling’s books “continue to sell strongly”, in particular its Harry Potter box set and the ‘House Editions’ of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
And a blockbuster slate for the second half promises to keep revenues tearing higher. Planned titles include illustrated versions of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Hogwarts’ finest is clearly the gift that keeps on giving. But Bloomsbury’s decision to diversify into the digital business-to-business market last year opens up a world of additional revenue opportunities.
The company’s ‘Bloomsbury 2020’ strategy, launched last year, zeroes in on providing academic and professional digital resources for academic libraries, a segment which the company has valued at some $5bn. Sales growth from these digital resources rose 10% in March-August, to £2.2m.
Bloomsbury’s bright first-half performance encouraged it to hike the interim dividend 5% to 1.15p per share, helped by a significant improvement in cash generation (net cash soared 85% year-on-year to £16.9m).
And despite predictions of a 3% earnings fall in the year to February 2018, City analysts expect the publishing star to hike the full year dividend to 7p per share, from 6.7p in fiscal 2017. A further healthy uptick to 7.4p (helped by an anticipated 7% bottom-line improvement) is also predicted for next year.
As a result, Bloomsbury throws out tantalising yields of 4.3% and 4.5%, respectively. These, combined with a very attractive forward P/E ratio of 13.3 times, should make the company worthy of serious attention from value chasers.
Payouts pound higher
Those on the hunt for chunky dividend growth also need take a look at Sanne Group (LSE: SNN).
With earnings expected to continue sprinting higher (growth of 40% and 17% is chalked in for 2017 and 2018, respectively), the asset and corporate administration specialist is predicted by City brokers to lift last year’s 9.6p per share to 12.6p this year, and again to 14.9p in the following period.
Subsequent yields of 1.6% and 1.9% may not exactly get pulses racing, but the potential for sustained and sizeable dividend hikes certainly should. Sanne witnessed “good growth” among its core business lines in the first half, “driven by strong momentum from new business opportunities delivered in the latter part of 2016,” it said in August.
And the Jersey-based firm remains busy on the M&A front to keep driving earnings and dividends skywards, snapping up Luxembourg Investment Solutions and Compliance Partners just last month.
Sanne deals on a forward PEG ratio of 0.8 which, allied with the company’s ultra-progressive dividend policy, makes it too good to overlook right now, in my opinion.
Royston Wild has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.