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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 December 2006, 12:50 GMT
Shares slide at Harry Potter firm
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince book
The Harry Potter books have proved highly lucrative for Bloomsbury
Shares in Harry Potter publisher Bloomsbury have lost their magic after the company issued a profit warning.

Bloomsbury's shares sank 30% after it said lower-than-expected pre-Christmas sales and delays in selling rights to reference books could hit profits.

Annual profits for 2006 are set to be only 5m, against predictions of 20m.

Bloomsbury posted profits of 4.2m for the first half of the year, helped by sales of the paperback edition of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Its best-selling titles in recent months have included My Take by Take That member Gary Barlow, Schott's Original Miscellany and Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth.

Beyond Potter

In a statement issued late on Monday, Bloomsbury said it remained "confident of a satisfactory outcome for 2007".

It also said that if it completed the planned reference rights sales, and if retail sales increased, its annual profit would be close to analysts' predictions.

Despite these comments, shares in Bloomsbury were trading down 91 pence, or 29%, at 219p in lunchtime trade.

The stunning global success of the Harry Potter books has generated bumper profits for Bloomsbury and analysts have been looking to see whether the firm can diversify successfully as the Potter series draws to a close.

Bloomsbury has not yet unveiled when the seventh and final book in the Harry Potter series will be published.

Bloomsbury buoyed by Potter magic
19 Sep 06 |  Business
Bloomsbury in Harry Potter boost
04 Apr 06 |  Business
Potter publisher has magic touch
23 Mar 04 |  Business

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