German group Springer bucks media slump
As other media groups are suffering, Germany's biggest newspaper publisher posted its best result ever.Berlin -- German publishing group Axel Springer is bucking the trend of weak results in the media sector and on Wednesday posted a record net profit for 2008.
Springer made a profit of 571.7 million euros (733 million dollars) last year, nearly double the figure in 2007, it said in a statement.
It was the best result ever for Springer, Germany's biggest newspaper publisher. Springer was founded in 1946 and owns the country's best selling daily, Bild Zeitung.
Operating profit gained 3.4 percent to 486.2 million euros on sales that were 5.8 percent higher at 2.73 billion euros.
Springer benefited from a "positive sales development and strict cost control discipline," a statement said.
A major contributor to the results was the sale of a 12 percent stake in the television group ProSiebenSat.1 but Springer's profit would have increased even without that sale, the group said.
"We have profited from the fact that we invested in the Internet earlier than others," a spokeswoman told AFP.
Springer has also improved its results in its core activity of printed publications.
Restructuring of some loss-making activities began several years ago to make them more efficient, the spokeswoman added.
The group did not provide an outlook for 2009 but she said it would be part of Springer's presentation of full results in mid-March.
In addition to Bild, Springer publishes the broadsheet Die Welt and owns several television stations and Internet sites.
Springer's results contrast sharply with those of some other media groups, in particular the Tribune company, the second biggest in the United States.
Tribune, which owns the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, has filed for bankruptcy.
European media groups have also been hit by falling readership, weaker advertising revenue and a shift by clients towards the Internet.
The free daily Metro recently halted operations in Spain where it had been printing almost a million copies a day.