- Illustrated book publisher Quarto booked a first-half loss after a small rise in sales was more than offset by expenses.

Pre-tax losses for the six months through June amounted to $4.4m, narrowing from losses of $8.9m on-year.

Revenue rose marginally to $56.4m, up from $56.2m.

Net debt was reduced to $65.0, down from $73.2m.

'This is an encouraging set of results following a year of significant change for the group,' chief executive C.K. Lau said.

'Revenue is slightly up year on year, while both operating loss and net debt have reduced significantly during the period in what is seasonally our weak half of the year.'

'We are now focused on the critical second half as we expect the trading environment to be particularly challenging, especially on the adult co-edition side both in English and foreign language.

'That said, we have the right plans in place to capture all possible opportunities and ensure a satisfactory year-end.'

'The board remains focused on returning the group to full health, reducing debt and defining growth strategies for 2020 and beyond.'

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