Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) increased its operating result (EBIT) by 1.5 percent to € 82.6 million. Revenue fell by 1.8 percent to € 585.1 million. Container transport of the intermodal companies grew by 3.2 percent compared to the first half of the previous year, coming in at 654 thousand standard containers (TEU). Container throughput at the terminals in Hamburg and Odessa was down by 10.0 percent at 3.4 million TEU.
“Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG continues to face a challenging operating environment. China’s economic growth is slowing down, while Russia and Ukraine remain mired in an economic crisis. We nevertheless succeeded in increasing the Group’s operating result slightly. The Intermodal segment remains HHLA’s strongest growth driver. The investments we have made in procuring our own locomotives, wagons and hinterland terminals are now taking full effect and significantly increasing our value added. We were able to more than double the Intermodal segment’s operating result (EBIT). By contrast, the Container segment charted a negative trend in the reporting period. Due to our vertical alignment throughout the transport chain, our business model that intelligently links container handling and transportation, and our stable financial position, we assert ourselves successfully under the current operating parameters. However, we are also aware that we can no longer generate growth on the scale seen prior to 2008 under these circumstances. With this in mind, we are continuing to work on optimising our facilities, processes and structures so that we can react even more quickly and flexibly to changing market requirements in the future,” says Klaus-Dieter Peters, Chairman of HHLA’s Executive Board.
The encouraging volume trend in container transport was driven by HHLA’s two rail companies, Metrans and Polzug. Revenue grew at a faster rate than volumes, gaining 6.3 percent to come in at € 180.8 million. This growth was largely attributable to price adjustments for individual products and to a rise in the average distance per transported unit. At € 26.8 million, the segment’s operating result doubled compared to the first six months of the previous year. Higher value added and an improvement in the combination of import and export volumes, which lead to a better utilisation of trains, were responsible for this strong increase in earnings. HHLA is continuing to expand its intermodal network and invest in new terminals and its own rolling stock.
As before, the lower throughput at the container terminals in Hamburg stemmed first and foremost from the reduction in feeder traffic with the Baltic Sea ports. In addition to the re-routing ordered by individual shipping companies, this is primarily due to the decrease in traffic to and from Russia, which fell almost 40 percent compared to the previous year. As every feeder container loss generally also means one less overseas container, the throughput for ocean-going vessels also fell markedly. At the Hamburg terminals rail container handling was the only area to chart a further slight increase in throughput. In Ukraine, the HHLA Container Terminal Odessa managed to reduce the impact of market shrinkage by gaining market share. Revenue in the Container segment fell by 6.0 percent and totalled € 351.9 million. The operating result (EBIT) was down 27.3 percent at € 57.5 million due to lower volumes, a slight rise in personnel expenses and higher maintenance costs.
The Port Logistics subgroup recorded an encouraging profit after tax and minority interests – a figure which is of great interest to shareholders. Thanks to positive developments at HHLA’s majority-owned companies, it increased by a substantial 51.5 percent from € 21.9 million (first half of 2014) to € 33.2 million. This prompted a rise in earnings per Class A share from € 0.31 in the first six months of the previous year to € 0.47.
The Executive Board of Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG has confirmed its forecast for 2015, which expects a consolidated operating result (EBIT) at the previous year’s level. However, based on developments in the first half, HHLA now anticipates a moderate decrease in volumes and an EBIT result of between € 125 million and € 135 million in the Container segment for the full year. By contrast, a strong increase in earnings is now anticipated in the Intermodal segment as opposed to a considerable rise. At Group level, the Executive Board expects a slight fall in revenue compared to the previous year.