PUBLISHING giant Oxford University Press has suffered a drop in its fortunes.

Pre-tax profits at the business based in Great Clarendon Street, Oxford, slipped to £107.2m for the year to March 31, compared to £116.2m for the same period the previous year.

And overall annual turnover remained virtually unchanged at £759m.

But bosses say that if investments and acqusitions such as the takeover of educational publisher Nelson Thornes are stripped out of the figures, the pre-tax profit or surplus grew by 3.9 per cent to £114m.

Spokesman Emma Duke said: “We had a good year, in which we invested in the quality of our products and services, our presence in emerging markets and our digital capability.

“We are strengthening OUP and building a platform for future growth.”

OUP employs almost 2,000 staff at its Oxford offices. Last year up to 20 workers were made redundant in the English Language Teaching department as the business tackled the effects of recession in key European markets along with advances in digital publishing.

Ms Duke added: “OUP invested in a programme of structural change in 2013, designed to facilitate global working, improve efficiency, and manage risk.

“OUP’s infrastructure is being transformed to create a stronger global foundation and to support the Press’s future growth.”

Digital sales grew by 7.5 per cent to £144m, representing 20 per cent of all sales as the business continues to move online away from traditional printed materials.

This growth was fuelled by new products such as The Oxford Learner’s Bookshelf, an app that is now being used by more than 50,000 students worldwide.

Turnover from emerging markets increased by 10.9 per cent, to £307.3m, equivalent to 41 per cent of total turnover.

OUP’s Asia Education division, comprising China, India, Malaysia, Singapore, and Pakistan, saw double-digit growth, driven by schools and higher education in India and a growing market for private schools in Pakistan.

Growth was also strong in areas such as South Africa and Turkey.

Classified as a department of Oxford University, OUP transferred £50m to the university’s general coffers.

OUP chief executive Nigel Portwood said: “I am pleased that the work of the past year has increased our reach and our ability to make a positive impact on the lives of people around the world.”



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