November 7, 2018 / 7:17 AM / 10 months ago

UPDATE 1-Axel Springer hikes EPS forecast as digital properties gain traction

* Q3 Adj EBITDA up 19.7 pct, beating forecasts

* Raises 2018 EPS growth forecast to mid single digits

* Digital classifieds driving growth

* Business Insider offset print declines in media division (Adds Q3 numbers, breakdown, CEO comment)

FRANKFURT, Nov 7 (Reuters) - German publisher Axel Springer on Wednesday reported that its core profit growth accelerated in the third quarter as its digital classifieds operation advanced and millennial-focused news outlet Business Insider grew profitably.

Springer raised its forecast for full-year earnings per share to indicate an increase in the mid-single-digit range - up from a low-single-digit increase - and confirmed its other forecasts.

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) grew by 19.7 percent to 187 million euros ($214 million), beating the mean forecast of 178 million euros in a Reuters poll of analysts.

The Berlin-based publisher, best known for its Bild tabloid, is being powered by its digital classifieds division that features real estate and jobs portals and achieved third-quarter revenue and profit growth of around 20 percent.

News media, meanwhile, is shrinking by low single digits as print circulation declines. That’s being offset by Business Insider, which was bought by Springer in 2015 and is driving international revenue growth.

Overall, revenues grew by 2.3 percent in the third quarter. Springer maintained its forecast for full-year revenue growth in the low to medium single digits, and growth in adjusted EBITDA in the low double-digit percentage range.

Shares in Axel Springer rose 2.1 percent in early Frankfurt trade after its results. The stock was down by more than 10 percent this year at Tuesday’s close. ($1 = 0.8747 euros) (Reporting by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Maria Sheahan)

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