Germany: HHLA Reports Increase in Revenue
Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) experienced above-average growth in its core markets in the 2011 financial year, increasing both its revenue and its results considerably. Container throughput rose by 21.3 percent to 7.1 million standard containers (TEU), and container transport went up by 11.3 percent to 1.9 million TEU.
Revenue grew by 14.0 percent to € 1,217.3 million, while the operating result (EBIT) improved by 7.3 percent to € 207.0 million. Profit after tax and minority interests improved by 17.1 percent to € 89.3 million. For the 2012 financial year, HHLA expects its container throughput, revenue and results to grow in the region of 5 percent.
“We are very satisfied with the 2011 financial year. In a challenging market environment, we grew faster than our major competitors and increased our revenue and results considerably,” explained Klaus-Dieter Peters, Chairman of HHLA´s Executive Board, with the presentation of the annual financial statements for 2011. “Given the growth in surplus capacity at the terminals of rival ports in Northern Europe, the difficult situation for container shipping as a whole and the protracted delay in the dredging of the river Elbe’s navigation channel, this is a remarkable achievement.” The market share of the HHLA Container Terminals, measured in terms of the total container throughput at the ports of Rotterdam, Hamburg, Antwerp and the Bremen ports, rose from 17.4 percent in 2010 to 19.3 percent in 2011.
HHLA achieved its revenue forecast for 2011 in full, a forecast that had been lifted over the course of the year. In light of the unexpectedly strong volume growth and the subsequent increase in peak loads in container handling, together with the expansion projects pursued in parallel at the terminals, the initial target to improve the operating margin could not be achieved. Further pressure on the results was caused by the delayed dredging of the river Elbe’s navigation channel. Despite additional burden by impairment charges, the company nevertheless exceeded its slightly downgraded earnings forecast. Earnings per share for the listed Port Logistics subgroup rose by 20.2 percent to € 1.20.
Based on the events of the year to date and current market estimates, it is expected that 2012 will see a substantial decline in global economic growth and with it, a slowdown in global trade and container handling. At present, Northern Europe is expected to see growth in container throughput of between one and two percent, while the transport volume in Germany is forecast to be between two and three percent for 2012. Should there be no change in the current development of the global economy, which is slowing down considerably but is still growing, and if work can begin promptly on dredging the river Elbe’s navigation channel, HHLA expects growth to be above-average once again with throughput, transport, revenue and results all in the region of 5 percent. Liner services operated by the new partnership of CMA CGM, MSC and UASC as well as the G6 Alliance are expected to contribute to this, as they have decided to make use of HHLA’s services respectively continue their long-standing relationship with HHLA.
Dredging Today Staff, March 30, 2012; Image: HHLA