Axel Springer reports record sales, profits

German publishing giant beats its own forecasts

COLOGNE, Germany -- German publishing giant Axel Springer thumbed its nose at the global economic crisis Wednesday as it presented record sales and profits for the 2008 financial year.

The publisher of some 180 newspapers and magazines, including leading European tabloid Das Bild, as well as a shareholder in television and radio stations across 35 countries, Springer beat its own optimistic forecasts, booking net profit of 571.1 million euros ($726.6 million) for the year, with sales up almost 6% to 2.58 billion euros ($3.3 billion).

The company had more good news for its shareholders, saying it will pay out a record dividend of 4.4 euros ($5.6) a share. Springer stock jumped 4.2% on Wednesday to 53 euros ($67.4).