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Deutsche Post says made good start to year

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Deutsche Post DHL Group said it was on track for its full year targets after reporting a 21 percent rise in profit in the first quarter, including a rise in earnings for its struggling freight division.

The postal and logistics group reported first-quarter earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of 873 million euros ($993 million), against the average analyst expectation for 830 million euros.

The rise in earnings was driven by its international express business and parcel deliveries thanks to the growing eCommerce market.

The freight division, which suffered last year from problems with a revamp of IT systems, saw profit rise to 51 million euros in the quarter, from 17 million one year ago.

"The efforts we made in 2015 to position ourselves for profitable growth in all divisions are paying off," Chief Executive Frank Appel said in a statement.

However, group sales dropped 6 percent due to currency effects, lower fuel surcharges and a change in the way the company recognises revenue from a contract with Britain's NHS.

Deutsche Post also confirmed a target for EBIT of between 3.4 and 3.7 billion euros this year, and reiterated its long-term targets for a rise in operating profit of more than 8 percent annually up to 2020.