Two major book publishers in the country, Academy Press Plc and University Press Plc, have reported a total loss of N194.3m for the first quarter of the year, compared to N319.6m loss in the same quarter of 2019.
Academy Press recorded a loss of N86.3m in Q1 2020, as against N175.2m in Q1 2019.
University Press posted a loss after tax (from continuing operations) of N108m in Q1 2020, compared to N144.4m in Q1 2019.
The financial statements of both companies listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange showed that they suffered a significant decline in revenue partly as a result of the COVID-19 inspired lockdown that saw scholarly activities take a pause for over three months.
University Press, Nigeria’s largest indigenous book publisher, witnessed a revenue decline of 66 per cent from N95.9m in Q1 2019 to N32m in Q1 2020.
Similarly, Academy Press Plc recorded a revenue decline of 60.5 per cent from N423.4m in Q1 2019 to N167.1m in Q1 2020.
Revenues for both firms are derived from sales of printed books in and outside Nigeria and amount receivable for printing jobs done.
Academy Press recorded N330m revenue from the sales of diaries in Q1 2020, as against N1.4bn recorded in Q1 of 2019.
Books revenue also fell to N11bn in Q1 2020 from N44.1bn recorded in Q1 2019.
For University Press Plc, its highest revenue-generating zone is the North.
It recorded N820,000 revenue from the North in Q1 2020, as against N40m in Q1 2019.
The University Press, in its audited financial statements for the year ended March 31, 2020, said, “The disruption of economic activities in Nigeria due to spread of COVID-19 pandemic and sharp drop in the price of crude oil compounded the country’s economic woes.
“Schools have been closed all over the country since March 2020, only graduating students of Junior Secondary Schools and Senior Secondary Schools were allowed to resume in August 2020 for the purpose of writing their final examinations.”
It added, “The performance of the company for 2019/2020 was negatively affected by the closure of the schools in Nigeria shortly after the outbreak of coronavirus.
“Sales orders were cancelled due to the closure of schools and this negatively affected the company’s revenue and its inventories at the end of the year under review.
“The significant impact of the pandemic on the company’s operations occurred after year-end. The closure of schools and automatic cancellation of the remaining part of the 2019/2020 academic year were unfavourable to the performance of the company for the first five months of 2020/2021.”
The firm noted that it had to revise its budget in August 2020 to reflect an expected revenue loss of 25 per cent.