Bertelsmann Sees Rising Earnings on Higher Book, Digital Sales

Bertelsmann SE, Europe’s biggest media company, plans to increase earnings this year as acquisitions and higher sales of digital products bring it closer to its mid-term revenue target of 20 billion euros ($21.5 billion).

Revenue and operating earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization will be higher than in 2014, when they grew to 16.7 billion euros and 2.37 billion euros, respectively, Chief Executive Officer Thomas Rabe told journalists in Berlin on Tuesday. Rabe said he targets net income of 1 billion euros in the medium term, compared with 573 million euros last year.

“It’s not relevant whether we take a year longer or not -- the important thing is that were are traveling in the right direction,” Rabe said. “The year started relatively well so I am optimistic for the full year at Bertelsmann.”

The company is shutting down or selling off shrinking printing and book-subscription operations, while slimming down its magazine arm Gruner & Jahr in an effort to save 500 million euros a year. Revenue was boosted by the merging of book publisher Random House with Pearson Plc’s Penguin unit, and Bertelsmann projects mid-term revenue of 1 billion euros from growth markets China, India and Brazil as well as Web-based education services in coming years.

The Guetersloh, Germany-based company boosted the latter business today by lifting its stake in Synergis Education, a provider of university services in the U.S. Bertelsmann, which also owns Europe’s biggest broadcaster RTL Group SA, now ranks fourth in online video views behind Google Inc.’s YouTube, Facebook Inc. and AOL Inc.

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