MILAN (Reuters) -Italy’s Autogrill expects to post a smaller loss and higher cash flow than previously forecast for 2021, it said on Tuesday, sending shares up more than 7%.

The group, which runs restaurants and bars on motorways and in airports around the world, now sees an underlying net loss of 110 million euros ($124.9 million) for last year, from a previous expected range of 150 million-170 million euros.

It also said it expected cash flow to come in at above 100 million euros, more than double its previous estimates. Final figures for 2021 will be published on March 10.

“The market was positively surprised by the very strong cash generation,” a Milan-based analyst said.

At 1308 GMT, shares in Autogrill changed hands at 6.77 euros, up 8% and on track for their best day since October.

Autogrill, which is controlled by the Benetton family, said its revenue rose 39% on a like-for-like basis in 2021 to 2.6 billion euros, driven by its performance in North America and Italy.

Sales in North America rose 67%, while they were up 28% in Europe last year.

Autogrill, which confirmed its 2024 targets, also raised its 2021 underlying operating profit margin guidance to about -0.5% from a previous range of -2.5% to -1.5%.

($1 = 0.8809 euros)

(Reporting by Federico Maccioni and Francesca Landini; Editing by Cristina Carlevaro and Jan Harvey)