Against the background of a worldwide collapse of industrial production and volumes transported, Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) has reported distinct downturns in revenues and earnings. In the first three
months of 2009 revenues fell back by 20 percent to 256.5 million euros and earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) sank by 45 percent to 51.0 million euros. By contrast, equity ratio improved by 2.4 percentage
points to 43.2 percent.
“Against a dramatic deterioration in the economic environment, in the first quarter of 2009 Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG has systematically adhered to its course of active crisis management while preserving
future growth opportunities. Despite a steep drop in volumes handled and transported, for instance, HHLA has kept the downturn in revenues within bounds, achieved respectable earnings and continued its policy of having
a sound balance sheet structure. Cost-reduction measures implemented at short notice made important contribution here,” explained Klaus-Dieter Peters, HHLA CEO, as HHLA’s interim report for January to March 2009
was released. At 19.9 percent, a high EBIT margin continued to be achieved.
As yet, during the 2009 financial year no indications of a fundamental reversal of the trend in the current situation of the economy have been apparent. For the year as a whole, HHLA is therefore continuing to
assume a pronounced double-digit decline in volumes handled and transported as well as significant reductions in revenues and earnings.
With its measures to reduce costs and spread out investments, however, even for 2009 as a whole HHLA anticipates to achieve a continued clearly positive operating result.
An overview of key Group figures (January to March 2009)
- Revenues fell by 20.0 percent to 256.5 million euros.
- Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) declined by 34.0 percent to 76.3 million euros.
- Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) fell by 45.0 percent to 51.0 million euros.
- At 29.5 million euros, the result after taxes was 50.5 percent below the corresponding figure in the previous year.
- Equity ratio as of 31.3.2009 was 43.2 percent (previous year: 40.8 percent).
- Throughput in the Container segment was down by 31.8 percent at 1,247 million standard containers.
- Transport volume in the Intermodal segment fell back by 16.6 percent to 0,366 million standard containers.
In the first three months of 2009, revenues of the stock exchange listed subgroup Port Logistics, HHLA’s core business, fell by 20.6 percent to 249.4 million euros. The subgroup’s EBIT dropped by 46.9
percent to 47.8 million euros. The Port Logistics subgroup was therefore responsible for 97.0 percent of Group revenues and 93.7 percent of Group EBIT.
Just those markets that in recent years have mainly contributed to HHLA’s disproportionate growth are now reporting above-average downturns (feeder services in the Baltic region, overseas trades with
East Asia, hinterland services with Central and Eastern Europe). HHLA has responded to this challenge in a variety of ways. In the Container segment, for instance, a greater proportion of high-value services at
least partly compensated for the volume trend, and here the service-intensive combination of handling, storage and hinterland services (especially by rail) once again proved itself. In the Intermodal segment the prime consideration was the retention and expansion of market positions. The package of measures to reduce costs
along with the systematic realization of savings that could be effected in the short term have also made an impact. In the second half of 2009, HHLA will be noticeably reducing staff costs by mounting a training
initiative for its staff in combination with short-time working.
Furthermore, spending on investments will once again be adjusted to the development of the economy. Investments in long-term growth and in boosting efficiency will be maintained, and by contrast those to boost
capacity will be staggered and deferred.
Klaus-Dieter Peters, Chairman of the HHLA Executive Board, commented:
“HHLA is thus well equipped to continue to successfully master the current economic crisis, to remain capable of exploiting the opportunities in an economic recovery and to keep a firm eye on its long-term growth prospects.”