German Buch News: Bertelsmann’s Disappointing Half Year Results

In German Buch News, News by Siobhan O'Leary

By Siobhan O’Leary

Hartmut Ostrowski Chairman and CEO, Bertelsmann AG

Hartmut Ostrowski Chairman and CEO, Bertelsmann AG

Despite recent corporate-wide measures taken to reduce costs and increase efficiency, Bertelsmann is still struggling through this difficult economic year. The Boersenblatt reports that sales for the media giant declined in the first six months of 2009 from 7.7 billion to 7.2 billion euros, as operating EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) sank by nearly a third to 475 million euros.

According to CEO Hartmut Ostrowski, however, the measures that have been taken to stem the bleeding are starting to pay off and will save Bertelsmann 900 million euros this year alone.

Random House saw its sales fall by 4% to 734 million euros for the same period, though Random House Germany experienced “very good sales figures and a strong presence on the non-fiction bestseller list”, according to the report released by Bertelsmann.

Random House US, UK, and Germany all boasted a substantial increase in their digital offerings and a corresponding growth in e-book sales.

Magazine publisher Gruner + Jahr was one of the groups hit hardest by a sharp decline in the advertising market, while Arvato produced a modest gain in profits.

About the Author

Siobhan O'Leary

Siobhan O’Leary is a literary agent, translator and writer based in Berlin. She previously worked in the Foreign Rights department of the Crown Publishing Group (Random House) and at the publishing consulting firm Market Partners International.