Harry Potter publisher Bloomsbury Publishing saw first-half sales jump 36.5% as export orders for the seventh Harry Potter book and 34 international bestsellers kept bookworms flocking to stores.
Chairman Nigel Newton told Reuters a strong book pipeline in the second half might help the firm beat expectations but profit could be held back by a higher-than-expected tax bill.
"We are projecting that taxes will impact full-year profit, but I think we will meet current expectations," Newton said.
Bloomsbury expects the effective tax for 2007 to rise to 33% from 29.4% as its U.S. operation is set to make a loss which cannot be offset against taxable profit in Britain.
Numis analysts currently forecast full-year pretax profit of 15 million pounds ($30 million). "We have tended to upgrade forecasts in a Harry Potter year, although problems in the U.S. and a rising tax rate will temper this," they said in a note.
Newton said sales of the seventh and final book of the boy wizard series, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," were going according to plan.
Export sales were up 31.4% as of Sep. 13 compared with the sixth book, while Nielson Book scan figures, that monitor sales out of the shops, showed that U.K. sales were 17.6% ahead as at Sep. 8., he said.