It was a very important year. The emphasized CEO of Axel Springer, Mathias Döpfner, repeatedly. Because 2015 was achieved with the acquisition of the US economy portal “Business Insider” the final entry into the media market of the USA. Other important goals were achieved. The company, which includes amongst others the “world” and the “Bild” newspaper belong, is already “the largest digital publisher in Europe,” Döpfner said. The chances to grow beyond Europe, stood well. About half of the turnover is generated in international markets.
Key figures: In the financial year Axel Springer has reached its growth target with a sales increase of 8.5 percent to nearly 3.3 billion euros. With a share of 62 percent was significantly more than half of the revenue from the digital business of publishing. On balance, the Group posted a profit of 304.6 million euros, an increase of nearly 30 percent over the previous year. Adjusted for special items, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda) rose by 10.2 percent to EUR 559 million.
Header deals as the backbone
the Group benefited particularly from high growth rates in the so-called Section deals – business models whose revenues are generated mainly by paying customers Classifieds example on jobs and real estate platforms. Segment sales climbed by 47.1 percent to 753.1 million euros. Döpfner designated classified advertising as the “backbone” of each publisher. Axel Springer expanded in recent years in this business through a joint venture with the US investment firm General Atlantic. In December 2015, the Axel Springer SE bought the remaining shares in the company of General Atlantic – and is now the sole shareholder of companies such as StepStone, Seloger and Realty World / Immonet. General Atlantic has in turn the second largest shareholder of Axel Springer SE.
Another objective was the development of digital pay deals of journalistic brands like “image” and “world” , “We want to enforce subscriptions in the digital world,” Döpfner said. He saw with joy that there was a trend towards intensifying consider payment elements. Even with journalistic offerings that there is only on the net. “World” and “image” come to currently total 384,000 digital subscribers. The “world” is expected to change their pay offer in the third quarter on a so-called freemium model. then selected content paying users are reserved instead of a certain number of free articles per month.
“Politico” and “Upday” as new journalistic deals
the division’s sales pay deals was 2015, at 1.58 billion euros, compared to 1.61 billion euros the previous year. Before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, income 223.2 million euros, a decrease of 11.2 percent. Both the editions printed titles such as advertising revenues are for years under pressure – in almost all publishers. This means that editors change, on the one hand partially degraded, is also investing in other places again, as in the acquisition of the news channel N24 by the “world” group. The percentage of revenues, Axel Springer achieved with journalistic content, Döpfner amounted to 50 percent.
The new journalistic Offered by Axel Springer include, for example, the European edition of “Politico”, a platform for political professionals based in Brussels. Also, the news service “Upday” that has developed Springer for the South Korean company Samsung, and is pre-installed on the new generation of smartphones S7. In connection with “Upday” campaigned Döpfner also for the development of more user-friendly digital advertising. “Advertising is no punishment, before coming to the contents,” said Springer boss. “Upday” will experiment with new advertising formats for digital terminals. The share of total advertising revenues, the achieved Springer with digital advertising, is 80 percent.
Marketing offers increased by almost 11 percent to 878.9 million euros in sales, the Ebitda in this segment fell by 17 percent to 88 million euros. Also due to expenses for the internationalization of individual deals. Among them is kaufDA, an online portal for local retail advertising, which belongs to the Springer subsidiary Bonial Group. On the US market the offer Retale.com to gain notoriety. Bonial also invested in the development of applications for virtual reality for shoppers.
Conversion to a partnership limited by shares canceled
CEO Döpfner also commented on the cancellation of the planned transformation of the legal form of the media company in a partnership limited by shares (KGaA). This would have allowed the group to have easier access to external capital to accelerate growth. Despite the general support of the Supervisory Board and majority shareholder Friede Springer was the skepticism of outside shareholders “have been greater than expected,” Döpfner said. As part of a “long and difficult” process then the consensual decision was taken, the conversion not perform. “We are now focusing on other ways of raising capital”, Döpfner.said
Board and Supervisory Board are of the general meeting to distribute a constant dividend of 1, Suggest 80 euros per share for the year, 2015. 2016 will be focused on further growth and strengthening of projects such as “Upday”, “Business Insider” and retale, Döpfner said. The Management Board expects an increase in total revenues in the low single digits. The earnings per share is expected to grow in the mid to high single digit range. Larger acquisitions are not planned, but financially possible with available opportunities.
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