Axel Springer, which publishes the mass-circulation daily Bild
Berlin - AFP
German media giant Axel Springer said Wednesday that profits grew strongly in the third quarter, boosted by the group's fast-growing digital business and windfall gains from divestments.
Axel Springer, which publishes the mass-circulation daily Bild, said in a statement that its net profit soared by 68 percent to 147 million euros ($160 million) in the period from July to September.
Gains from the sale of the fitness app developer Runtastic helped drive the company's bottom line higher, the group said.
Underlying or operating profit was up 32 percent at 129 milluion euros on a seven-percent increase in revenues to 795 million euros.
"Axel Springer benefited from the continuous dynamic development of its digital activities, (which) contributed more than 60 percent to the total revenues and more than 70 percent to" underlying profit in the first nine months, the statement said.
"Our priority this year is growth. We see great potential with our Classified Ad Models and journalistic brands in Europe and also, increasingly, in the English-speaking world," said chief executive Mathias Doepfner.
At the end of September, Axel Springer announced it had agreed to buy the US website Business Insider for around 300 million euros.
"Through the acquisition of Business Insider, Axel Springer has, already being the market leader in Europe in terms of reach, developed into one of the biggest digital publishers in the world," said CEO Doepfner.
On the basis of its performance so far this year, Axel Springer said it now expects full-year sales to rise "by an amount in the mid single-digit percentage range," or around five percent.
That is slightly higher than previously projected.
Rising advertising revenues would likely more than compensate for the declining circulation revenues and other revenues, the company said.
In terms of operating profit, Axel Springer it was sticking to its target for "high single-digit percentage range" or up to nine percent.