Longhorn Publishers has grown its net profit fivefold to Sh39.9 million in the year to June on increased sales following the reopening of schools and expansion to new markets.
The publisher posted a Sh7.4 million net profit for the full year to June last year, recovering from a Sh226 million loss in 2020 at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Improved earnings in the review period were driven by higher sales which jumped 40 percent to Sh1.7 billion amid increased purchase of books and other learning materials.
“The growth trajectory is expected to continue and is sustainable given the investments made to develop new markets under the new curricula,” said Longhorn in its financial report.
The publisher recently expanded to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in a bid to tap the country's vast market of 20 million learners and boost shareholder returns.
The Nairobi-Securities Exchange-listed firm is on an aggressive expansion drive into francophone countries which it considers greatly untapped.
The firm is among the nine publishers that won the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) tender to supply Grade seven textbooks under the Competence-Based Curriculum (CBC). It will publish French and computer books that have been listed as optional subjects under the CBC.
Learning in Kenya schools was interrupted for nine months to January 2021 following the outbreak of Covid-19 hitting hard the publisher’s earnings. Learning in Uganda resumed in January 2022 -nearly two years after schools closed following the pandemic.
“We have since enhanced our market penetration activities resulting in the highest revenue level in our history of operating in Uganda,” said Longhorn. The uninterrupted learning since schools reopened has enabled the firm to recover sales and resume profitability.
Longhorn’s operating expenses increased by 45 percent to Sh443.6 million, mainly attributed to the reinstatement of staff benefits that had been cut as a response to the pandemic’s economic crisis.
Selling and distribution costs also rose during the year due to increased sales but at a relatively slower pace compared to revenue, resulting in improved margins.
The company is banking on its digital business as a key driver of its performance going forward with plans of unveiling a number of products under the segment.