Kenyan publisher Longhorn benefits from both digital and African expansion

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Longhorn Publishers PLC, the Kenyan book publishers with strong presence in East and Central Africa has announced its financial results, with group profit after tax for the year ended 30 June 2019 rising by 1%, to Kshs 185 million, from Kshs 183 million in 2018.

The Company attributes this performance to commendable growth in Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania, as well as the positive response to the rollout of Kenya’s new competency-based curriculum (CBC), in which Longhorn has played a significant role in its implementation by having distributed 2 million textbooks to 23,000 public primary schools in Kenya.

Mr. Maxwell Wahome, the Group Managing Director of Longhorn Publishers, said,  “The strategic focus on regional expansion has begun to bear fruit, with our investment in market-specific content, particularly for Uganda and Tanzania, realising a 41% revenue growth in these markets.  In an increasingly digital world, we need to ensure all our children have access to learning materials. To improve access, we invested in a dedicated USSD code *864#. Currently, we have close to 50,000 active learners on our eLearning Platform. Now our digital content is accessible on both feature and smartphones.”

Over 50,000 learners are active on Longhorn’s eLearning Platform and over 60% of Longhorn’s content is available on the Longhorn eBook Store, the largest digital library of contemporary African content in East and Central Africa.

Longhorn Publishers PLC has set up fully functioning subsidiaries in Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda, and has operations in, Malawi, Zambia, South Sudan and Senegal. In 2018, Longhorn extended its presence into Cameroon through a strategic alliance.

The shares of Longhorn Publishers PLC are listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange making it the only listed education technology platform in East and Central Africa.

The new curriculum will reform Kenya’s education system so that Kenyan children can develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills that will serve them well into their adult life. Longhorn will be releasing interactive digital content within the next 3 months to support the teachers and learners in better understanding the new curriculum.

Mr. Wahome noted, “Through capacity building workshops across the country, we were able to understand the needs of the teachers of the new CBC. This enabled us to develop and roll out new learning material that will support the goals of the new competency-based curriculum. The materials on Early Childhood Development and Education (ECDE) and the Primary Course Books were very well received, with a corresponding 2% growth in the Company’s bottom line.”

Mr. Joseph Kiruri, the Chief Finance & Operations Officer of Longhorn Publishers PLC, added, “Despite revenues remaining flat, we were able to grow operating profit before tax from Kshs 358 million in 2018 to Kshs 360 million. We were more efficient in our operations and reduced our production costs. As a result, gross profit margins increased by 6% and operating expenses decreased by 3%.”

Read also: Digital opportunities for East African countries in 2019

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