Axel Springer, Europe’s largest publisher, unveiled a 6.5 per cent increase in earnings for 2016 and raised its dividend to €1.90 a share, as rising advertising revenues offset a decline in circulation.

The company produces Bild, Europe’s biggest selling title, and the broadsheet Die Welt, but has also invested aggressively in digital properties. It bought Business Insider in 2015, owns the online news channel N24, holds a 50 per cent stake in politics website Politico Europe and 93 per cent of eMarketer, a US analytics business.

It said its digital operations generated two thirds of total revenues in 2016 and 72.5 per cent of the group’s total earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation. Revenues from digital increased by 7.7 per cent to €2.2bn.

Ebitda for the whole group rose 6.5 per cent to €595.5m – at the higher end of full-year forecasts. Revenues were flat at €3.3bn.

The company said ad revenues improved by 5.5 per cent, reaching €2.2bn. It said its classified ad division remained the “growth engine” for the group during 2016, with revenues from the segment increasing 17 per cent to €880m.

But in a sign of the continuing decline in its traditional businesses, revenues from circulation fell 10 per cent to €646.9m.

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