The publishing wing of the Church in Ireland – has returned to profitability after some turbulent years, according to latest figures filed with the Companies Registration Office.
Veritas, the Irish bishops’ publishing arm, has been struggling for years, battling with an uncertain retail climate, but 2016 saw the company making a small net profit of €15,801.
However, given that the company’s annual turnover is €6,515,277 the profit is extremely modest raising serious questions about how efficient Veritas can be at keeping its costs under control.
The latest accounts show that for every €10 spent in Veritas shops or on Veritas publications, just 2c ultimately counts towards the company’s profits.
But, 2016 shows a marked improvement in the company’s fortunes given that 2015 had ended with its balance sheet burdened with a cumulative loss figure over recent years of €5,431,423. That this has been reduced, even just to €5,417,239, by the close of 2016, shows a real improvement, and one that stands in stark contrast to how that same cumulative figure had risen by €496,580 over the previous year.
Key to the improvement is the long-heralded impact of the ‘Grow in Love’ series of primary school textbooks. Last year’s accounts claimed that Veritas had performed strongly in the second half of 2015, owing to the launch of the new school programme and improved sales in books and gifts, and although this wasn’t obvious in the 2015 accounts it appears to be paying off now.
Almost wholly absent from this year’s accounts is any reference to Veritas’ dealings in the USA, something that as late as 2014 was still leeching money from the company owing to the “continued investment costs arising on the establishment of the Credo programme”, which by December 31 2014 had been adopted by 139 schools.
On the face of it, the programme is still proving expensive to run – among the company’s administrative expenses, only salaries and PRSI contributions are more expensive than ‘US selling and distribution costs’, but without figures for US turnover, it’s difficult to assess these costs.