Axel Springer profits fall in third quarter

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German newspaper publisher Axel Springer announced on Monday a slight fall in bottom-line profits for the third quarter, but said underlying earnings and revenues were up year-on-year.

Springer, which publishes the mass-circulation daily Bild, said in a statement it earned 82 million euros ($112 million) after tax in the three months to September, a decline of 6.1 percent from a year earlier.

The group attributed the decrease to higher taxes and the fact that the year-earlier figure had been boosted by one-off gains.

On an underlying basis, earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased by 26.5 percent to 157.6 million euros in the July-September period on an 11.5-percent rise in sales to 792.6 million euros.

"As expected, the development of the print media circulation market was restrained, both in Germany and in our international markets, although newspaper circulation revenues began to stabilize in the second quarter, particularly thanks to the copy price increase implemented by Bild," the company explained.

However, a decrease in advertising revenues from newspapers and magazines was "more than offset" by the organic growth of Springer's digital media and by higher revenues in the international print business, it said.

Looking ahead to the full year, Springer said it was anticipating a "high single-digit percentage increase in total revenues in 2011, with all revenue categories (circulation, advertising, and other revenues) expected to contribute to that increase."

In addition, underlying earnings were expected to rose "in the low double-digit percentage range over the prior-year," it said.

© 2011 AFP

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