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Lufthansa Reports Strong Growth in 2006 Earnings

Germany's Lufthansa said Monday that its earnings grew strongly in 2006 as passenger numbers increased.

Lufthansa said preliminary figures showed that its net profit for the full year increased to around 800 million euros ($1.05 billion) -- a 77% gain.

The company said it expected revenue to grow to 19.8 billion euros ($26 billion) from 18.1 billion euros.

Operating profit grew to some 845 million euros ($1.1 billion) from 577 million euros. The Cologne-based airline, Germany's biggest, said in a statement that "the positive development in earnings continued in the fourth quarter," but did not give figures for the October-December period.

Lufthansa said its management board would propose a dividend of 0.70 euros ($0.92) per share for 2006 -- a gain of 0.20 euros ($0.26) over the previous year.

Lufthansa said last month that passenger numbers grew by 4.2% in 2006, with the airline carrying a record number of 53.4 million passengers.

The company said further information on 2006 earnings would be published on March 8.