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Lufthansa expects to soar in 2008

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09:49 CET+01:00
German airline Lufthansa said Wednesday that it expected its operating profit and sales to grow this year and next on the back of unfettered demand for air travel.

"In spite of the current uncertainty in the financial markets, the economic conditions remain good for Lufthansa," chief executive Wolfgang Mayrhuber said in a statement. "There have been no ground breaking changes in terms of the fundamental conditions or the need for mobility."

The German flagship carrier said last month that 2007 net profit had jumped to €1.66 billion ($2.55 billion) from €803 million in 2006, and that it would raise its dividend payment to shareholders by 79 percent to €1.25.

Operating profit in the 12 months to December 31 advanced to €1.378 billion from €845 million a year earlier, beating the company's own guidance of €1.3 billion. On Wednesday, the company said that sales rose by 13 percent to €22.42 billion.

Shares in the German carrier gained 1.20 percent to €15.20 in early trades on the Frankfurt stock exchange, while the Dax index of leading shares was 1.19 percent higher overall. Analyst Uwe Weinreich called the targets a "positive surprise."

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