By Fred Akanni, in Lagos
University Press Limited has stopped on its three year downward revenue track and returned back to profitability.
The Nigerian maker of pre-primary, primary and secondary school textbooks and distributor of World Bank titles, earned a total revenue of ₦1.608Billion, at least ₦130Million, or 9% higher than its total earnings in the 2015/2016 financial year, which itself was the lowest in five years.
But this current rebound is still a subpar performance compared with the 2012/2013 revenue, which stood at ₦2.212Billion . Curiously, the company’s profit after tax of ₦118.4Million, is 62% higher than it was in the previous year, even though the earnings were just 9% higher.
The two major problems of the last two years were foreign exchange and piracy.
“Pirates continued to cause revenue leakages to Publishers in the country”, the company’s chairman, Lalekan Are, remarks in the 2016/2017 report.
“Publishing was hit as a result of its dependence on foreign exchange to purchase raw materials for printing and settling financial obligations to foreign printers”, the chairman’s report continues. University Press was paying monies owed as far back as two years before, in 2017. Between February and March 2017, the report says, University Press “incurred foreign exchange loss of ₦59Million” due to payment of goods bought in 2015. “The suppliers could not be paid in 2015 due to lack of foreign exchange.”
Nevertheless, shareholders were gifted with dividend that was 100% higher than what they received in the prior year 10kobo per 50kobo ordinary shares. The amount translates to a cash outlay of ₦43.1Million.