Academy Press recently released its results for the financial year ended March 2017, and they are nothing to smile about. While revenue increased marginally from N2 billion in 2016 to N2.1 billion in 2017, the company continues to record losses. Loss before tax increased massively from N93 million in 2016 to N387 million in 2017. Loss after tax also increased from N67.3 million in 2016 to N512 million in 2017.
This article highlights reasons for the bad performance.
Administrative costs are up
Administrative costs increased massively from N353 million in 2016 to N583 million in 2017. A further breakdown showed that salary and staff costs increased from N104 million in 2016 to N162 million in 2017.
Negative retained earnings
Retained earnings have declined consecutively in the past 3 years and are now negative. From N505 million in 2015, retained earnings are now N81 million in the red.
Profits on books is dropping
A greater cause for concern is the decline in revenue in its core segment. Gross profit on the sale of books (from where the company earns the chunk of its revenue) fell from N496 million in 2016 to N288 million in 2017.
The next major profit driver was the printing of annual reports which earned the company N80 million in 2017, up from N22.5 million in 2016. This however is not sustainable, as the Securities and Exchange Commission has unveiled plans to phase out the printing of physical copies of annual reports.
Academy also made a profit of just N4000 on the sales of calendars, indicating that the company may have to stop the production or find a way to squeeze out more profits.
The-debt-to-equity ratio of the company is also a cause for concern. Academy had a net debt of N2.1 billion and total equity of N197 million, resulting in a gearing ratio of 1112%.
Staff and interest costs take up value added
A large percentage of the value added by the company went to staff costs and interest payments. Of the N603 million created as value in 2017, 64% or N385 million went to wages, salaries and other benefits while 36% or N226 million went to interest payments.
Shareholders are gaining little
Shareholders of the company may be in for a long wait, in respect of returns on their investment. Academy is currently trading at 50 kobo per share, and last paid dividends in 2014. The directors of the company have opted not to pay dividends with respect to 2017, in order to conserve funds.
The company needs to urgently lower its cost of finance and squeeze out more profits from its core area of publishing. Diversification is also necessary, as publishers in the country are in a constant battle with pirates who reproduce popular titles cheaply.
Failure to do this will leave the company in an even more precarious position.
Academy Press Plc was incorporated in Nigeria as a private limited liability company on 28th July 1964 and by a special resolution became a public limitedliability company on 22nd October 1991.The Company offered its shares to the public in November 1994 and these shares were listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange on 15th June, 1995.
The group carries on its business, as printers of educational and general books, and commercial printing of diaries, labels, calendars, periodicals, annual reports confidential and other printing.