Digital and international business pushes Axel Springer’s profits up

Thanks to healthy growth in its digital media business and consolidating its eastern Europe joint venture with Switzerland-based peer Ringier AG in July 2010, German publisher Axel Springer AG today announced its first quarter operating profit is up 6.5 percent, Dow Jones Newswires reported.

Ebitda earnings were up to €126.9 million in the first quarter, ending March 31, from €119.2 million at the same time last year. Meanwhile, sales were up 11 percent to €736.7 million.

Although its German newspaper sales were down 3.3 percent year-on-year, digital operations were up 26.3 percent, while international publications jumped by 57.7 percent, according to Agence France-Presse.

Last week, however, Axel Springer and Ringier withdrew their request to consolidate holdings in Hungary, after the country’s Media Council said the merger would “unequivocally and significantly” endanger the diversity of news and information sources, the Budapest Business Journal reported.

Axel Springer and Ringier announced in March they would consolidate their portfolios in five eastern European countries. Authorities in all the other countries have cleared the merger.

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