HHLA’s profit and container traffic increased in the first half of 2012, but Hamburg’s biggest stevedore forecast flat full-year results amid slowing growth across the North Europe port range.
Earnings before interest and tax were 1.2 percent higher at 94.2 million euros ($116 million), and its Hamburg and Odessa, Ukraine, terminals increased throughput by 3 percent to 3.15 million 20-foot-equivalent units.
Revenue shrank, however, 5 percent to $702 million because of a realignment of its intermodal business.
“In an increasingly gloomy global economic environment, we increased throughput in the first half of 2012 and strengthened our competitive position in northern Europe. In the second quarter … we were also able to improve earnings and profitability,” said Klaus-Dieter Peters, chairman of the HHLA Executive Board.
Earnings were again held back by delays in dredging the Elbe River, which connects Hamburg to the open sea, and additional costs for the modernization of a terminal in the north German port.
Traffic growth at HHLA’s terminals slowed from 4.7 percent in the first three months to 3 percent for the first half, compared with an estimated 1 percent decline in traffic at Rotterdam, Antwerp, Bremerhaven, Hamburg and Zeebrugge. HHLA handles about two-thirds of Hamburg’s container traffic.
HHLA’s intermodal traffic slumped 24.7 percent to 697,000 TEUs from 925,000 TEUs in the first half of 2011, mainly because of the disposal of its stake in the unprofitable rail operator TFG Transfracht.
With traffic growth expected to slow further through the second half, HHLA forecast that full-year volume will be roughly equal to last year’s 7.1 million TEUs.
The company is aiming for group revenue of about $1.36 billion, compared with $1.6 billion in 2011, and an operating profit of between $211 million and $236 million, versus $267 million last year.
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