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SYDNEY, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Australian newspaper and radio group Fairfax Media Ltd on Wednesday posted a 6.1 percent rise in first half underlying net profit and confirmed it was preparing for a demerger of real estate classifieds arm Domain Group.
The company reported an underlying net profit of A$84.7 million ($65.0 million) in the six months ended Dec. 31, up from A$79.8 million a year ago and beating a A$69 million estimate by broker Citi.
The underlying figure excludes one-off items and discontinued businesses. On a statutory basis, Fairfax reported an A$83.7 million half-year profit, up from A$27.2 million a year earlier.
Fairfax, which owns The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian Financial Review, has been battling declining circulation and falling advertising revenue at its newspapers, making its earnings increasingly reliant on Domain. ($1 = 1.3031 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Jamie Freed; Editing by Hugh Lawson)