German travel and tourism firmTUI, Europe’s biggest, doubled its profits in 2004 and expects further growth in 2005 because of a shipping boom and increased tourism. The company's shares were among the best performers this week, surprising analysts' forecasts. Operating profits doubled to 489.5 million euros ($640.7 million). For 2005, profits from its core travel business accounting for nearly 60 per cent of the group total should grow at a double-digit percentage rate, though shipping growth would be more modest. TUI has transformed itself and diversified over the past few years into a tourism and shipping leader. The company initially wanted to go public with its Hapag-Lloyd unit last year but cancelled as shipping profits boomed, particularly because of Asian exports.