UPDATE 1-Deutsche Post raises outlook, predicts strong Christmas

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BERLIN, Oct 7 (Reuters) - German logistics group Deutsche Post AG raised its outlook for full-year operating profit on Wednesday and said it expected “exceptionally strong” business up to Christmas as ecommerce keeps booming during the coronavirus pandemic.

Deutsche Post DHL, one of the world’s biggest post and freight companies, said preliminary figures showed third-quarter operating profit rose 45% to around 1.37 billion euros ($1.61 billion), even as it granted employees a 300 euro bonus each.

Its shares were up 2% after the unscheduled news.

“We were able to significantly benefit from the dynamic ecommerce growth in our businesses”, Chief Executive Frank Appel said in a statement. “We are now fully focused on preparing for an exceptionally strong Christmas business.”

The Bonn-based company said it now expects 2020 group operating profit of 4.1-4.4 billion euros, up from a previous 3.5-3.8 billion, with its DHL division contributing the most to the increase, with a forecast 3.3-3.6 billion euros.

The free cash flow is now expected to be more than 1.8 billion euros, up from 1.4 billion previously forecasted.

Deutsche Post is set to report full results on Nov. 10.

$1 = 0.8498 euros Reporting by Emma Thomasson; editing by Thomas Seythal and Madeline Chambers