Germany: HHLA on Growth Mode

HHLA on Growth Mode

Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) increased its container throughput to 3.5 million standard containers (TEU) in the first half of 2012.

Revenue fell by 5.0 percent to € 566.3 million following the realignment of the Intermodal segment and changes in consolidation methods. The operating result (EBIT) rose by 1.2 % to € 94.2 million. Profit after tax and minority interests climbed by 20.8 % to € 42.0 million.

“In an increasingly gloomy global economic environment, we increased throughput volumes at our container terminals in the first half of 2012 and strengthened our competitive position in Northern Europe. In the second quarter of 2012, we were also able to improve earnings and profitability”, said Klaus-Dieter Peters, Chairman of the HHLA Executive Board. The main factors behind this performance were the increases in earnings and profitability, including a one-off accounting gain, as a result of the realignment of the Intermodal segment, as well as the improved operating result in the second quarter of 2012. At the same time, HHLA’s earnings performance was again held back by the delays in dredging the river Elbe and temporary additional expenses for the modernisation of the Container Terminal Burchardkai.

Forecast for the full-year result 2012

Throughput growth at the HHLA container terminals in Hamburg and Odessa slowed over the first half of 2012. The rate of increase was 4.7 percent after the first three months, but this slipped to 3.0 percent for the half-year. On current estimates, total throughput in the major Northern European ports of Zeebrugge, Antwerp, Rotterdam, Bremerhaven and Hamburg fell by one percent in the first half of 2012.

In view of current economic and throughput forecasts, which predict that the situation will deteriorate further, HHLA is expecting container volumes for the full year 2012 to be roughly at the same level with last year’s figure. On this basis and taking the realignment of the Intermodal segment into account, HHLA is aiming for Group revenue in the region of € 1.1 billion and an operating result (EBIT) in a range between € 170 and 190 million.

Realignment of Intermodal segment improves result

HHLA realigned its Intermodal segment in the second quarter of 2012. To this end HHLA and Deutsche Bahn demerged their equity interests in the companies for hinterland rail traffic. The new ownership structures came into effect from the second quarter of 2012. HHLA now holds 86.5 percent of the shares in Metrans (previously: 51.5 percent) and 74.5 percent of the shares in Polzug (previously: 33.3 percent). HHLA’s former 50 percent stake in TFG Transfracht has been sold to Deutsche Bahn. This means HHLA is now in a position to align all the companies in the Intermodal segment under its corporate control systematically with the requirements of maritime logistics. At the same time, HHLA is increasingly deploying its own production resources, such as modern inland terminals, container rail cars for maritime logistics as well as locomotives.

In the first half-year, transport volumes came to 697 thousand standard containers (TEU), a decline of 24.7 percent largely due to the disposal of the HHLA interest in the unprofitable rail company TFG Transfracht. The realignment of the Intermodal segment resulted in an earnings increase with a corresponding clear-out of volume and revenue. In the result for the first half of 2012, this can be seen in the strong rise in profit after tax and minority interests due to the one-off gain of around € 17 million mainly from the Transfracht disposal as well as to HHLA’s higher share of Metrans earnings.


Source: hhla, August 14, 2012