UPDATE 1-Sanoma profit falls on weak advertising, print sales

Thu Feb 7, 2013 4:57am EST

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HELSINKI Feb 7 (Reuters) - Finnish media group Sanoma said its quarterly core operating profit fell 41 percent due to weaker sales of advertising and print publications, in line with expectations.

While fourth-quarter core operating profit fell to 32 million euros ($43 million), the company proposed to maintain an annual dividend of 0.60 euros per share. Analysts on average expected a cut to 0.55 euros, according to a Reuters poll.

Sanoma said advertising sales fell 7 percent in the fourth quarter while circulation, subscription and single copy sales fell about 5 percent from a year earlier.

Sanoma, which publishes around 300 magazine titles in 11 European countries, forecast little change in sales and profits this year from 2012.

Shares in the company rose 3.0 percent to 7.63 euros by 0946 GMT.

The firm in recent years has been selling off some non-core assets, focusing instead on learning material and digital businesses. Its main markets are in Finland, Netherlands, Belgium and Russia. ($1 = 0.7387 euros) (Reporting By Jussi Rosendahl)