International growth drives Axel

Publishing giant posts revenue gains

Citing strong foreign growth, German publishing giant Axel Springer on Wednesday posted a 3.1% increase in revenue to e1.2 billion ($1.65 billion) for the first half of the year.

While Europe’s biggest publisher saw net profit drop 20% to $123 million, foreign revenue grew 26% to $323 million as the group continued its international expansion. Springer’s international sales accounted for a record 19.4% share of overall revenue.

Chief exec Mathias Deopfner is leading the company beyond newspaper publishing and into TV and online businesses, which Springer expects to grow faster than newspapers.

Earlier this year the Berlin-based publisher of newspapers Bild and Die Welt bought a 25% stake in Polish broadcaster Polsat for some $345 million. It took a similar stake in Dogan Yayin Holding, Turkey’s biggest broadcasting group, in November.

New publications and increased ad revenue boosted profits in the second quarter.

Company said profit in the June quarter rose to $62 million vs. $60 million a year earlier, while sales were up nearly 2% to $852 million.

Springer said it expected its 2007 profit before interest, taxes and amortization to reach last year’s $516 million, excluding a one-time gain in 2006.

Springer shares rose more than 3% to $186.31 in Frankfurt before falling back to $177.31.

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