November 4, 2015 / 6:43 AM / 4 years ago

Axel Springer raises 2015 forecast on higher ad sales

The logo of German publisher Axel Springer is pictured in front of the company's headquarters in Berlin July 25, 2013. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German publisher Axel Springer raised its full-year sales forecast on Wednesday, saying a planned increase in advertising revenues would probably more than compensate for declining circulation and other revenues.

Springer, which last month began forcing readers to accept ads on the website of its best-selling Bild tabloid or pay a monthly fee, said it now expected a revenue increase in the mid-single-digit percentage range, up from low to mid-single digits.

“Our priority this year is growth. We see great potential with our classified ad Models and journalistic brands in Europe and also, increasingly, in the English-speaking world,” Chief Executive Mathias Doepfner said in a statement.

Shares in Springer were indicated to open 2.5 percent higher ahead of the 0800 GMT Frankfurt market open.

Springer bought news website Business Insider in October and launched a European edition of political news site Politico earlier this year. It narrowly lost to Japanese media group Nikkei in an attempt to buy the Financial Times in July.

It said it had sufficient financial headroom both for investments in digitisation and to pay a high dividend, according to slides prepared for a presentation to analysts.

In the first nine months of the year, Springer’s advertising revenues rose 16 percent to 1.48 billion euros, driven by classified ads and other digital marketing, making up 63 percent of the company’s total revenues.

Germany’s advertising market is expected to grow by up to 2 percent this year, with advertising revenues for online exceeding those for newspapers for the first time.

Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Christoph Steitz

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