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Axel Springer lifts forecast as digital media pays off

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Frankfurt am Main (AFP)

German media giant Axel Springer reported growing revenues and net profit Wednesday, lifting its full-year forecast as more customers turned to its paid-for offerings in print, television and online.

Adjusted net profit increased 13 percent to 91.5 million euros ($108.2 million) between April and June, mainly driven by strong growth in earnings from its digital media products.

Operating or underlying profits increased 15.7 percent to 170.1 million euros, on the back of revenues up 7.1 percent at 858.8 million euros, both beating analysts' forecasts.

Investment in digital expansion was "paying off", chief executive Matthias Doepfner said, with digital media now accounting for some 70.6 percent of revenue and almost 80 percent of operating profit for the group as a whole.

Axel Springer's stable of online titles includes English-language site Business Insider as well as the digital versions of German newspapers like Bild or Die Welt, while it also operates a slew of European classified advertising sites.

"Growth in paid-for digital offerings more than compensated for falling print business," the firm said.

Nevertheless, print enjoyed strong sales in the first half, especially thanks to a one-off special edition of Bild celebrating the German parliament's June vote to legalise same-sex marriages.

Looking to the full year, Springer expects a "high single-digit percentage" increase in operating profits and adjusted profits per share compared with 2016's result, on the back of a "mid single-digit percentage" increase in revenues.

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