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January 12, 2021 3:30 PM, EST

DHL Owner Deutsche Post Reaps Profit Boost as Virus Spurs Demand

An employee sorts packages at a DHL Worldwide Express facility in Chicago. (Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News)An employee sorts packages at a DHL Worldwide Express facility in Chicago. (Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News)

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Deutsche Post AG reported record earnings as its DHL express-delivery arm benefited from a surge in home shopping spurred by the coronavirus crisis.

Earnings before interest and tax jumped 17% to 4.84 billion euros ($5.9 billion) in 2020, according to a statement Jan. 12, beating analyst forecasts and prompting Deutsche Post to predict further gains in profit this year and next.

A shift toward online purchases has accelerated during the pandemic as people are forced to stay home and many shops close or go bust. Demand was strongest before Christmas as consumers were caught out by renewed lockdowns, while businesses are also sending more documents, the German company said.

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“Better earnings should be here for a while,” Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Daniel Roeska said in a note, labeling the group’s express and German parcels businesses “star segments.”

Deutsche Post shares closed 2.2% higher at 41.83 euros in Frankfurt. The stock rose almost 20% last year.

A lack of airline belly space following a near grounding of passenger flights also spurred operations involving DHL’s fleet of more than 260 cargo planes, and led the company to announce a new order for eight Boeing Co. 777 freighters worth more than $2.8 billion at list prices.

Deutsche Post will report more detailed earnings figures on March 9.

Deutsche Post DHL Group ranks No. 7 on the Transport Topics Top 50 list of the largest global freight carriers.

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