Lufthansa posts soaring nine-month profit, raises outlook

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Germany's leading airline, Lufthansa, said Wednesday it had recorded nine-month sales of 20.2 billion euros (27.8 billion dollars) and raised its outlook for 2010 operating profit.

Lufthansa posted a nine-month operating profit of 612 million euros, a gain of 386 million euros from the same period in 2009.

Net profit for the nine-month period soared to 524 million euros from just 31 million euros a year earlier, it added.

Analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires expected a net profit of 286 million euros.

"The executive board has revised its expectations for earnings upwards and now anticipates that the operating result for the full year will exceed the 800 million (euros) mark," a statement said.

Sales jumped 25 percent to 20.2 billion euros, in line with analyst forecasts.

"The nine-month earnings reflect both the measures undertaken in the group to reduce costs and the gratifying pace of demand in the third quarter, particularly in the freight and intercontinental passenger businesses," the airline said.

Results for the third quarter are expected to be released on Thursday.

Shares in the airline were up 1.95 percent to 15.45 euros in late Frankfurt trading, while the DAX index of German blue-chips was 0.68 percent lower overall.

Earlier this month, Lufthansa reported a 12.1-percent annualised increase in September passenger traffic and a 20.8-percent jump in freight traffic, clear signs of recovery in the tumultuous air transport sector.

© 2010 AFP

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