German media giant Axel Springer said Thursday that its fast-growing digital business helped boost overall profits in the first three months and it confirmed its full-year targets.
"Axel Springer intensified the expansion of its digital business models during the first three months of the current financial year," the group said in a statement.
"With strongly growing contributions to revenues and earnings, they continue to be our growth engine."
The online business accounted for more than 60 percent of group revenues and more than 70 percent of operating profit in the first quarter, it said.
Axel Springer said operating profit grew by 1.2 percent to 119.8 million euros ($136 million) in the three month on a 12.7-percent rise in revenues to 780.6 million euros.
However, bottom-line net profit fell by 34.4 percent to 43 million euros, partly due to exchange-rate developments and because the year-earlier figure had been inflated by windfall gains, the group explained.
Looking ahead, Axel Springer said it was standing by its current forecasts.
"The executive board continues to expect revenues and earnings growth for the 2015 full-year," it said.
Revenues would increase by a "mid single-digit percentage range" or around 5.0 percent.
A planned increase in advertising revenues would "more than compensate for the fall in circulation revenues and other revenues."
Operating profit would rise "in the high single-digit percentage range" or up to 9.0 percent and earnings per share would run up growth of at least 10 percent.
"We are making excellent progress with our plans for domestic and international growth and raising our profile as leading digital publisher," said chief executive Mathias Doepfner.
"Due to the successful internationalization of our digital business, we are now generating nearly half of our revenues outside of Germany," he said.