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Publisher Bloomsbury sets special dividend as lockdown reading boosts earnings

June 2 (Reuters) - London-based Bloomsbury Publishing declared a special dividend and posted a 22% surge in annual earnings on Wednesday, as people turned to books during COVID-19 lockdowns.

The Harry Potter publisher, which also expects current-year results to be ahead of market estimates, said profit before taxation and highlighted items rose to 19.2 million pounds ($27.17 million) in the 12 months to Feb. 28 from 15.7 million pounds a year earlier.

$1 = 0.7066 pounds Reporting by Muvija M in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath

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