Deutsche Post AG lifted its full-year target for profit and cash flow as express-delivery arm DHL targets a surge in home shopping spurred by the coronavirus crisis.

The shares advanced as much as 3.2 per cent Wednesday after the German firm said it expects to post earnings before interest and tax of more than 6.7 billion euros (US$8 billion) this year. It had said last month that the figure would be significantly above a prior 5.6 billion-euro forecast.

A shift toward online purchasing has accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic as people are forced to stay home and many shops close or go bust. The loss of freight space in grounded passenger planes has provided a particular boost for DHL, which has a fleet of more than 260 specialist cargo aircraft and has ordered eight more from Boeing Co.

Cash flow this year should reach 3 billion euros, the Bonn-based company said, up from the previous estimate for over 2.3 billion euros.

Chief Executive Officer Frank Appel said in a statement that the January through March period had been “the best opening quarter” and that the group is “ideally positioned to benefit from the continuing boom in e-commerce and the resurgence in global trade.”

Shares of Deutsche Post shares were trading 1.7 per cent higher at 49.47 euros as of 9:23 a.m. in Frankfurt, extending their advance this year to 22 per cent.

The company confirmed that profit last year tripled to 1.9 billion euros.

For 2023 it’s forecastng an EBIT of more than 7 billion euros, versus previous guidance of more than 6 billion euros. The company expects to generate 9 billion euros in cash flows from 2021 through 2023.