New report reveals 39 of the UK’s largest publishers are showing signs of financial weakness

39 of the UK’s top 100 publishing companies are showing serious signs of financial weakness and could face an uncertain future, a new report from market analysts Plimsoll Publishing reveals.

An analysis into the financial performance of the top 100 publishing companies registered in the UK details that 39 companies have been given the financial rating of Danger and are showing symptoms of financial distress – namely declining sales, high debts and low profits.

As a result, many of the 39 businesses need an urgent survival plan, either from an injection of capital, a radical cost reduction scheme or financial restructuring if they’re to continue to trade.

Plimsoll’s latest report has investigated the overall financial performance of each of the UK’s leading 100 publishing companies and scored each on their financial health. Each company has been given a rating of either strong, good mediocre, caution or danger.

David Pattison, Plimsoll’s senior analyst, commented: “We tested this method of analysis on a study of 351 previously failed companies, including all the latest retail failures, and this showed 320 had a caution or danger rating up to two years prior to their demise. This proves our method of analysis can identify the key characteristics of a failing company. If failures are predictable, and if enough warning can be given, the management has time to get a survival plan in place to save the company. It is clear from this study the publishing sector is going through a period of great change and the market is highly competitive.”

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Summary of further findings from Plimsoll’s Report into the UK’s top 100 Publishing companies:

  • 31 companies made a pre-tax loss in their latest year of accounts
  • 46 firms have seen their turnover decrease in the latest set of accounts
  • One in five businesses have witnessed a profit decline in the last two consecutive years
  • 39 organisations have been rated as Danger

David Pattison added: “Danger firms have two options:  they can hold their nerve and hope to trade their way out, or they can put a survival plan in place and look to consolidate their business. Once you known the warning signs you then need to act.”

To compile the Publishing Top 100 Report, Plimsoll has analysed 3071 companies who operate in the UK Publishing industry and picked the largest 100 based on turnover. The companies included in the Top 100 report specialise in an array of publishing markets - ranging from newspaper publishers to book publishers.  The data used to compile the Top 100 Analysis is based on the financial accounts for each company which are available at Companies House. Based on these accounts, Plimsoll has used its own methodology to analyse the financial health of each individual company as well as the industry average figures which are contained in the Plimsoll Analysis.

For over 30 years, the Plimsoll Analysis has been used by senior decision makers to help monitor competitors, analyse key market trends as well as identifying acquisition prospects.

The Plimsoll Top 100 Publishers Analysis is available to buy by clicking here. The Analysis examines the largest 100 companies operating in the UK.

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