Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) recorded a positive performance in revenue and earnings in the first half of 2022. The company benefited in particular from a further rise in storage fees in the Container segment resulting from much longer dwell times for containers at HHLA’s facilities, as well as from further increases in the rail share of HHLA’s total intermodal transportation. HHLA Group revenue rose by 9.9 percent to € 779.5 million (previous year: € 709.2 million). The Group operating result (EBIT) climbed by 11.9 percent to € 101.3 million (previous year: € 90.5 million). The EBIT margin amounted to 13.0 percent (previous year: 12.8 percent). Profit after tax and minority interests rose year-on-year by 13.1 percent to € 43.9 million (previous year: € 38.8 million).
Angela Titzrath, Chairwoman of HHLA’s Executive Board: “For more than two years now, we have all experienced how volatile the logistics sector is. The restrictions in place to fight the coronavirus pandemic, weather conditions, road and rail construction work and now the war in Ukraine with the subsequent sanctions against Russia have a massive impact on global supply chains. HHLA may have successfully completed the first half of 2022, but the disruptions to supply chains still continue to pose major operational challenges for us. It is not currently clear when this situation will return to normality or what consequences the global crisis will have for the economy and for society. HHLA is doing everything it can to contribute to the reliable supply of businesses and consumers. We are continuing to focus on the implementation of our strategy, which is based on growth and sustainability – especially in these uncertain times.”
The listed Port Logistics subgroup recorded an increase of 9.6 percent in revenue to € 761.9 million in the first six months (previous year: € 695.1 million). The operating result (EBIT) rose by 9.4 percent to € 91.7 million (previous year: € 83.8 million). At 12.0 percent, the EBIT margin was on a par with last year’s figure. Profit after tax and minority interests increased by 10.1 percent to € 38.4 million (previous year: € 34.9 million). Earnings per share thus amounted to € 0.53 (previous year: € 0.49).
In the Container segment, container throughput of 3,368 thousand standard containers (TEU) at all of HHLA’s terminals remained stable at last year’s level (previous year: 3,369 thousand TEU). The suspension of seaborne handling at the Ukrainian terminal in Odessa ordered by the authorities in late February as a result of the Russian invasion was primarily offset by strong growth in volume at the Estonian container terminal TK Estonia in Tallinn and by a rise in cargo volumes destined for the Far East at the Hamburg container terminals.
At 3,167 thousand TEU, throughput volume at the three Hamburg container terminals was up 3.1 percent on the same period last year (previous year: 3,073 thousand TEU). This positive development was essentially driven by an increase in the Far East shipping region – China in particular. In addition, the acquisition of feeder services in the third quarter of 2021 and in the first quarter of 2022 led to strong growth in feeder traffic volumes. This more than offset the collapse in volumes to and from Russia since March 2022 as a result of the sanctions imposed by the EU. Feeder services accounted for 20.9 percent of seaborne handling in the first six months of 2022 (previous year: 19.8 percent).
Throughput volumes at the international container terminals dropped by 31.9 percent to 202 thousand TEU (previous year: 296 thousand TEU). This was due to the significant decline in cargo volumes at the terminal in Odessa as compared with the previous year. The strong increase in volume at the TK Estonia container terminal resulting from the increased use of the terminal as an alternative to Russian ports, along with additional throughput volumes for PLT Italy in Trieste, were not able to fully offset the decrease.
Revenue increased significantly year-on-year by 8.4 percent to € 438.8 million in the first half of 2022 (previous year: € 404.9 million). This was primarily due to the significant rise in storage fees at the container terminals in Hamburg, Tallinn and Trieste, which were largely brought about by longer dwell times for containers as a result of bottlenecks in the supply chain. Furthermore, additional revenue from RoRo and break bulk handling at PLT Italy had a positive effect. Against the backdrop of a temporary increase in average revenue caused by the spike in storage fees, the operating result (EBIT) rose by 26.6 percent to € 80.2 million (previous year: € 63.4 million). The EBIT margin increased by 2.7 percentage points to 18.3 percent (previous year: 15.6 percent).
In the Intermodal segment, container transport increased overall by 2.2 percent to 851 thousand TEU (previous year: 832 thousand TEU). Rail transport rose by 4.6 percent year-on-year to 709 thousand TEU (previous year: 678 thousand TEU). In addition to moderate growth for traffic with the North German seaports, a strong increase in Polish traffic and in the German-speaking market contributed to this development. Road transport, on the other hand, saw a significant decrease in the first half of 2022. In a persistently challenging market environment, transport volumes decreased by 8.2 percent to 142 thousand TEU (previous year: 155 thousand TEU).
With year-on-year growth of 11.4 percent to € 281.6 million (previous year: € 252.9 million), revenue growth was stronger than the increase in transport volumes. Some reasons for this were the further increase in the rail share of HHLA’s total intermodal transportation from 81.4 percent to 83.3 percent and temporary surcharges that were required in order to partially offset the spike in energy prices.
The operating result (EBIT) decreased by 7.1 percent to € 42.8 million (previous year: € 46.0 million). The EBIT margin fell by 3.0 percentage points to 15.2 percent (previous year: 18.2 percent). The weak EBIT performance was primarily due to operational interruptions due to storm damage, ongoing disruptions to supply chains and the sudden spike in energy prices, which could only be passed on to the market after some delay.
HHLA’s properties in the Speicherstadt historical warehouse district and the fish market area reported a positive trend in the first six months with almost full occupancy.
Revenue rose by 17.2 percent in the reporting period to € 21.5 million (previous year: € 18.4 million). In addition to the continued growth in earnings from revenue-based rent agreements, the increase was due in part to rising rental income from newly developed properties in the Speicherstadt historical warehouse district.
Against the backdrop of revenue growth and maintenance volumes remaining almost constant, the cumulative operating result (EBIT) rose by 43.7 percent to € 9.4 million (previous year: € 6.6 million).
HHLA’s economic performance during the first half of 2022 was largely in line with the forecast described in the 2021 Annual Report, which outlined the possible effects of the Russian invasion based on the information available at the time. The disclosures made in the Annual Report regarding the expected course of business in 2022 therefore continue to apply. However, the expectations for container throughput as well as earnings expectations in the Intermodal segment were lowered gradually. By contrast, expectations for the development of revenue and EBIT in the Real Estate subgroup have been upgraded. Against the backdrop of ongoing disruptions to international supply chains, container throughput in the Port Logistics subgroup is expected to be on a par with the prior-year figure (previously: moderate increase). A moderate year-on-year increase in container transport is still seen as possible.
Taking into account the lower volumes handled in the Container segment in the second half of the year and the delayed levelling off of average revenue, the Port Logistics subgroup is still expected to see a moderate increase in revenue.
EBIT for the Port Logistics subgroup is still expected to be within the range of € 160 million to € 195 million (previous year: € 213 million). Due to the ongoing supply chain disruptions and their impact on operations, however, the EBIT contribution of the Intermodal segment is likely to be on a par with the previous year (previously: moderate increase).
For the Real Estate subgroup, a significant year-on-year increase in both revenue and EBIT is considered possible (previously: moderate increase for each).
Taking into account the divergent developments of the segments, a moderate increase in revenue is still expected at Group level with an operating result (EBIT) in the range of € 175 million to € 210 million (previous year: € 228 million).
In order to further increase productivity and expand capacity in the Container and Intermodal segments, capital expenditure at Group level is expected to be in the range of € 300 million and € 350 million in 2022. The Port Logistics subgroup will continue to account for € 270 million and € 320 million of this amount.