German postal and logistics group Deutsche Post DHL said it expected a further increase in earnings after a 7.2 percent jump in 2017 profit, with online shopping driving demand for parcel
deliveries and a turnaround at its freight unit taking hold.
The group reported 2017 earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of 3.74 billion euros ($4.65 billion), in line with its target of 3.75 billion euros, but slightly below the 3.789 billion euros expected in a Reuters poll.
It said it expected EBIT of 4.15 billion euros for 2018 and forecast that would rise to over 5 billion euros in 2020.
"DHL is benefitting from e-commerce, and we are confident we will see a strong continuation of that growth over the coming years," Chief Executive Frank Appel said in a video interview posted online.
He said the group delivered more than 1.3 billion parcels in Germany for the first time in 2017.
At the group's freight division, where a planned renewal of its IT systems previously ran into problems, the second half of the year proved more positive than the first. In the first part of the year, the division was unable to pass on higher freight rates to customers.
Appel said that the division had seen growth in sales and profit in the fourth quarter, with EBIT up 18.3 percent, and that he was confident 2018 would see "significant improvements".