Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Germany's biggest airline, said Tuesday net profit for 2007 doubled from a year earlier on improved traffic figures and demand for its flights worldwide.
The Cologne-based company said it earned nearly euro1.7 billion (US$2.5 billion) in 2007 compared with a profit of euro803 million a year earlier. Sales rose 13 percent to euro22.4 billion (US$33.2 billion).
The company did not release fourth-quarter figures, but said that its annual operating profit rose to euro1.4 billion (US$2 billion) from euro845 million in 2006.
The company is scheduled to release its full financial report on March 12 after the meeting of its supervisory board, the U.S. equivalent to a board of directors, on March 10.
Regardless, investors cheered the preliminary figures, pushing up the airline's shares by more than 3 percent to euro15.73 (US$23.31) in Frankfurt trading.
In a brief statement the airline, which operates hundreds of flights from hubs in Germany to Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas, said the increase was also the result of "positive business development" and that "income from portfolio management also made their mark" on the figures.
As a result, the company plans to increase its dividend to shareholders by 55 euro cents to euro1.25 (US$1.85) a share, pending approval at its annual general meeting on April 29.
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