In the first nine months of FY2016 the division classifieds remained the biggest driver for revenue and earnings at Axel Springer, the German media group which released Q3 results today.

Classifieds increased its revenue by 17.8 percent to €645 million ($710 million U.S.) in the first nine months of FY2016 from €548 million in the same period last year. The strong organic revenue growth of 12 percent contributed to this, as did the consolidation effects, including those resulting from the integration of Immowelt, said Axel Springer.

“All three categories – jobs, real estate, and other – achieved double-digit growth rates (in the first nine months of FY2016),” the company said.

Under jobs were included Stepstone, Jobsite, Totaljobs Group, Saon Group, and YourCareer Group; under real estate were included SeLoger, Immoweb, Immowelt (with its many niche sites) and Immonet; under “Other” were included, @Leisure, Yad2 and La Centrale.

“With growth of 16.6 percent, the division classifieds also significantly improved its EBITDA. This figure improved to €261.4 million from €224.2 million. Adjusted for consolidation and currency effects, the EBITDA increased by 7.7 percent. With an EBITDA margin of 40.5 percent (last year: 41 percent), this segment remained highly profitable,” said Axel Springer.

Since the rest of Axel Springer grew at what one could call a pedestrian pace, the division classifieds’ share in (or contribution to) the group’s total revenue jumped to 27 percent from 23 percent.

In the first nine months of the current financial year, total revenue of Axel Springer SE (the group) increased by 0.6 percent to €2,387 million from €2,373 million. Adjusted for consolidation and currency effects, the total revenue increased 4.7 percent, the company said.

The company expects its total revenue to end at roughly the same level in FY2016 as in FY2015, and to see an increase in its EBITDA in the low to medium single-digit percentage range.

In the first nine months, the consolidated net income, adjusted for non-recurring effects, depreciation, amortization, and impairments from purchase price allocations, increased by 5.1 percent to €209 million from €199 million.

“The main factors behind this increase were the non-recurring effects resulting from the sale of commercial operations such as CarWale, the establishment of the joint venture with Ringier in Switzerland, and the sale of office buildings,” the company said.

As a result, the earnings per share increased from €2.20 to €3.23.

To recoup: In July, @Leisure Group, in which Axel Springer holds a majority share, acquired a controlling interest in Land & Leisure AS, and further increased this stake in September. Also in September, Axel Springer agreed to acquire the remaining minority share of 39 percent in Car & Boat Media, the operator of the French classified ads site for cars, La Centrale.

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