Hapag-Lloyd earned record second-quarter operating profit as the German ship line’s volume rose 7.8 percent and average per-container rates jumped 29.9 percent.
Hapag-Lloyd’s underlying earnings before interest, taxes and amortization totaled $294 million, compared with a loss of $250.3 million in the second quarter of 2009. Container shipping revenue rose 28.5 percent to $2.1 billion.
TUI, which owns 43.3 percent of Hapag-Lloyd, said the profit was “considerably better than expected.” TUI raised its forecast for container shipping last month, saying it expected Hapag-Lloyd to “post significantly positive operating earnings” because of a “notable recovery” in the industry.
By The Numbers: Europe-Asia Eastbound Container Trade.
Hapag-Lloyd received state loan guarantees worth more than $1.5 billion, which it hasn’t used and is considering returning, TUI Chief Financial Officer Horst Baier said in a conference call. The guarantees were part of a rescue package that resulted in the acquisition of 56.7 percent of the carrier by the Hamburg-based Albert Ballin consortium.
TUI is not “in a rush” to sell its remaining stake in Hapag-Lloyd, Baier said. He said container shipping’s outlook has improved since the world’s carriers lost an estimated $15 billion last year.
Hapag-Lloyd had operating losses of more than $1 billion last year but returned to profitability in the first quarter with operating earnings of $17.4 million, compared with a $282 million loss in the first quarter of 2009.
Average revenue per 20-foot-equivalent unit during the quarter increased to $1,536 from $1,182 a year earlier. Container volume rose to 1.279 million TEUs from 1.187 million in the second quarter of 2009.
Shipping profits helped TUI offset flat profit from its tourism unit and narrow its group-wide net loss of $12 million as revenue fell 4.2 percent to $5.5 million.
TUI Travel, the source of most of TUI’s revenue, posted a net loss of $127 million because of air-traffic shutdowns caused by the volcanic ash clouds over Europe in April and May and consumers’ holiday-spending cuts in both Germany and the UK.
TUI said operating earnings from continued businesses will rise “slightly” in the current fiscal year after adjustments. TUI also said it expects to achieve a “positive group result.”
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