Harry Potter publisher Bloomsbury Publishing said on Tuesday current trading was meeting expectations, as it met forecasts with a 3.4 percent rise in first half profit.

The second half has started well with trading in line with our expectations, and the board remains confident of a satisfactory outcome to the year, Chairman Nigel Newton said in a statement.

Bloomsbury said its publishing programme for the second half of the year was one of the strongest to date. It includes a non fiction book by Chancellor Gordon Brown.

The company said in a statement it made a pretax profit of 4.22 million pounds in the six months to end June, on revenue up 6.5 percent to 37.7 million pounds.

The interim dividend was raised 10 percent to 0.66 penny.

Bloomsbury's second half will benefit from the June paperback launch of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, with adult and children's versions of the sixth instalment of the boy wizard's antics.

At 08:00 GMT (9 a.m. British time), Bloomsbury shares, which had underperformed the media sector <.FTASX5550> by 10 percent over the past 12 months, were unchanged at 322 pence to value the business at 236 million pounds.

Bloomsbury's list for 2006 includes authors from its existing portfolio, like Joanna Trollope, Susanna Clarke and Ben Schott, as well as authors new to the publisher, including William Boyd, Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall and William Dalrymple.

Bloomsbury has said previously that Harry Potter fans will have to wait until at least next year for the seventh instalment, which author JK Rowling has said will be the last.

Analysts at Numis Securities, who rate Bloomsbury shares an Add, see plenty of life in the Harry Potter franchise.

The final hardback book will be followed by a paperback edition, probably in the subsequent year. In turn this will be followed by a box set of all seven books and celebratory editions to coincide with film releases, Numis said.