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Growth above expectations

  12.11.2010    

The recovery in throughput and transport volumes at Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) accelerated further in the course of 2010. After nine months, throughput volume of the container terminals in Hamburg and Odessa was 15.4 % above the previous year’s level, while the volume transported by HHLA’s intermodal companies improved by 13.4 %. For the first time, revenue (791.9 million euros, + 6,2 %) and  EBIT (141.5 million euros, + 8,9 %) were substantially above the previous year’s level again. For the whole year 2010, HHLA now reckons with throughput growth above 15 %, revenue of over one billion euros and EBIT in the region of 180 million euros.
“The strong economic recovery from spring 2010 onwards continued and strengthened in the third quarter. After the first nine months of 2010, revenue and profit for the Group as a whole are for the first time distinctly higher than the previous year’s figures. Admittedly, there are signs of a slackening in the world economy and world trade in the fourth quarter. Nevertheless, and despite the continuing risks of a reverse, for instance from excessive public debt and currency risks, we are currently witnessing a stabilization and normalization in long-term growth trends,” stated Klaus-Dieter Peters, Chairman of the HHLA Executive Board, when presenting the interim report for the months January to September 2010.

High volume momentum for throughput and transport
After the first three quarters of 2010, at 4.3 million standard containers (TEU) throughput volume of HHLA’s container terminals in Hamburg and Odessa was 15.4 % above the previous year’s level. The surprisingly strong recovery in volumes commenced in March 2010. Not least, six additional container liner services ensured a marked acceleration in the speed of growth. Following the return in March and April of two Far East services suspended during the crisis, four new services followed in May, August and October. Serving as one example of these is the new FAL 5/AE 8 East Asia service operated by the CMA CGM and Maersk shipping lines. Mega-ships of the latest generation with a carrying capacity of up to 14,000 standard containers (TEU) are deployed on this service. Also contributing to the growth have been the feeder services to the Baltic that had collapsed disproportionately during the crisis and picked up substantially now. One example is APL shipping company’s feeder services that reverted from Rotterdam to Hamburg at the end of August. The decisive factors here were the increase in feeder system costs (charter rates and bunker costs) that again brought the advantages of Hamburg’s geographical location into play, as well as the quality of feeder handling in the Port of Hamburg.
Having transported 1.3 million standard containers (TEU), with their hinterland services by rail and truck HHLA’s intermodal systems were 13.4 % ahead of the previous year. On intermodal services, the recovery had already started in summer 2009. Services in the hub-shuttle system (e.g., to Prague) developed especially dynamically, already exceeding the record level of 2008.

Good prospects
In view of how the year has gone so far, despite a weaker fourth quarter caused by seasonal factors, for the year as a whole HHLA expects to boost throughput volume by more than 15 % on the previous year and volume transported by more than 11 %. On this basis, revenues of over one billion euros and an operating result (EBIT) in the region of 180 million euros is considered to be obtainable.
Provided that the timetables for the deepening of the navigation channel of the river Elbe are kept and the economic recovery is stabilized, for 2011 HHLA expects further revenue growth and improvements in profits.

Short-time working ceased on 1 November
The measures adopted to keep employment at the Hamburg location as part of HHLA’s “Securing the future” project proved effective. The combination of flexible and needs-related use of short-time working with customized vocational training measures, enabled work volume to be adjusted to the development of the economy, with the workforce being retained and given additional training at the same time. Thanks to the economic recovery, as from 1 November 2010 HHLA discontinued the short-time working introduced in summer 2009. The only exception is at the HHLA Logistics subsidiary.

Setting the course for future growth
HHLA has further developed its activities with a large number of projects, securing the conditions for future growth. Among these projects are:
- The new mega-containership berth at Container Terminal Burchardkai. The new system at Burchardkai, with modern tandem container gantry cranes, a largely automated block storage system and new, integrated terminal control, has meanwhile successfully proved itself.
- The expansion of Container Terminal Odessa. With an investment volume of 70 million euros, the essential conditions have been secured for handling larger vessels and further throughput growth. At the same time, the existing terminal agreement has been extended by 20 years to 2044.
- The IPN Inland Port Network joint venture (with Eurogate). IPN is making the preparations for a network of full-service terminals in Germany meeting the qualitative requirements of maritime logistics and providing improved conditions for a sustained increase in the proportion of containers being moved by rail.
- The CTI Container Inland Trucking Joint Venture by HHLA subsidiary CTD and the Bremen-based transport company EKB. This is developing a nationwide delivery service for the “final mile” between the customer and the inland terminal for use by multimodal traffic and maritime logistics in Germany.
- The Katowice Inland terminal. To link the economic region of Silesia in Southern Poland more closely with the Port of Hamburg, in June 2010 HHLA erected a modern container terminal for use by multimodal traffic in Katowice.
- The Poznan inland terminal. HHLA will be opening a container terminal in Poznan in 2011 to serve as a “Hub terminal” to facilitate the build-up of efficient shuttle services between the Hamburg terminals and Poland.

Overview of key group figures (January to September 2010)
- Revenue at 791.9 million euros were 6.2% above the previous year’s figure.
- Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) at 222.6 million euros were 3.5 % above the previous year’s figure.
- Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) at 141.5 million euros were 8.9 % above the previous year’s figure, while profit after tax and minority interests improved by no less than 21.7 % to 55.5 million euros.
- At due date 30 September 2010 the equity ratio was 40.0 %.
For the period January to September 2010, revenues of the publicly listed Subgroup Port Logistics, HHLA’s core business, were at 770.0 million euros, 6.2 % higher than the previous year’s level. The Subgroup’s earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) at 131.3 million euros were 9.9 % higher. The Subgroup Port Logistics therefore generated 97 % of  Group revenue and 93 % of Group EBIT.



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