Booming digital revenues now make up almost 80 per cent of sales at Auto Trader and could hasten the end of the print version of the car-classifieds magazine in 12-18 months.
Annual turnover rose only 1 per cent to £257.2m, but digital sales, from the web and smartphones, jumped by 11 per cent to £202m.
Auto Trader is a rare example of a print title that transformed itself successfully into a digital brand, with operating profits before exceptionals up 9 per cent to £129m.
Its parent company Trader Media Group used that performance to let joint owners Guardian Media Group and Apax Partners take a £210m dividend.
However, GMG and Apax had to add £150m to TMG's debt load.
Its pre-tax profits were £22.3m compared to £83.5m a year earlier.
GMG and Apax will have been keen to take a big dividend after writing down the value of another investment, magazines and events business, Top Right Group.Reuse content