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Axel Springer First-Quarter Profit Falls on Digital Investments

Axel Springer AG, Europe’s biggest newspaper publisher, said first-quarter profit before some items fell 3 percent as the company invested more in digital products and print revenue continued to decline.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization excluding some items declined to 132.4 million euros ($173 million), the Berlin-based company said in a statement today. Revenue rose 1.8 percent to 803.6 million, compared with analysts’ average estimate of 811 million euros, led by gains from Web-based products outside of Germany.

Chief Executive Officer Mathias Doepfner, eleven years into his job, this year vowed to speed up a transition from the declining newspaper business to digital publications and classified ads, a move that’s set to depress profit this year. The non-print business was the biggest contributor to earnings in the quarter, gaining 34 percent to 62.8 million euros.

“The strong revenue and earnings growth of the digital media segment confirms us that accelerating the digital transformation of Axel Springer is the right course,” Doepfner said in the statement.

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