May 7, 2019 / 6:04 AM / 19 days ago

Axel Springer lowers revenue guidance after @Leisure sale

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Axel Springer reported a decline in first-quarter core profits and lowered its revenue guidance on Tuesday as the German publisher stakes a long-term wager on growing its digital classifieds and media businesses.

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) dropped by 2.5 percent - slightly above mean forecasts in a Reuters poll of analysts - helping shares to early gains of as much as 2.9 percent at 0642 GMT.

Berlin-based Springer stood by its guidance for no change in adjusted EBITDA this year but cut its revenue forecast, also to unchanged, to reflect the recent sale of its vacation rental unit @Leisure that is expected to close in June.

Putting long-run growth before short-term profits, CEO Mathias Doepfner said in March he would invest in Springer’s digital properties that span jobs and property classifieds, and in news sites such as Business Insider.

That announcement sent the company’s shares to a two-year low. They have just erased those March losses, but remain down by more than a quarter over the past 12 months.

Rival media groups have, meanwhile, attracted investor interest by restructuring, with Norway’s Schibsted spinning off classifieds arm Adevinta in a well received market float last month.

Reporting by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Riham Alkousaa/Keith Weir

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