UPDATE 1-Schibsted warns of risks to online classified ad growth
(Updates with detail, statement from firm, share)
* Warns of weakness in Spain, France
* Shares down as much as 9.6 percent
* Maintains medium-term financial targets
OSLO, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Norwegian publisher Schibsted said growth in revenues at its online classified advertising business may suffer in the short term due to problems in key markets Spain and France, sending its share down as much as 9.6 percent.
Schibsted has been a rare success story among media firms in the world as it restructured its print business and expanded heavily in online classified advertising, building positions in both developed and emerging markets.
Its stock has risen 50 percent over the last 12 months and hit an all-time high on Tuesday, before Wednesday's fall.
"Weak macro (economic issues) and refocusing on traffic growth in Spain may negatively affect revenue growth in the short-term," Schibsted said in a statement.
"Our leading French site Leboncoin.fr holds significant long-term potential ... although growth may slow down in the short-term due to prudent monetisation strategies and tougher year-on-year comparisons," it added.
At 0817 GMT, Schibsted shares were down 7 percent, trailing an Oslo benchmark index, which fell 0.6 percent.
Still, the media group kept its medium-term target for 15-20 percent annual growth for its online classified business. It also maintained its other financial targets including a dividend payout ratio of 25-40 percent of cash flow. (Reporting by Gwladys Fouche; Editing by Mark Potter)
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