Hapag-Lloyd more than triples net profit in first half, sees economic uncertainty

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A Hapag Lloyd container ship is loaded at the Altenwerder shipping terminal in the port of Hamburg, Germany August 15, 2016. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer/

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  • Company maintains full-year 2022 guidance for EBITDA and EBIT
  • Profits destined for dividend, possible investment
  • Outlook marred by macroeconomic downturn, costs
  • CEO tells Reuters he expects cooling in Q4

FRANKFURT, Aug 11 (Reuters) – German container carrier Hapag-Lloyd (HLAG.DE) on Thursday reported net profit of 8.7 billion euros ($8.94 billion) for the first half of 2022, or more than three times more than a year earlier. , but said the war in Ukraine and the coronavirus crisis have clouded his outlook somewhat.

The company, the world’s fifth-largest container line, confirmed forecasts made on July 28 for earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization for the year 2022 of between 18.2 billion and 20.1 billion. euros, and for earnings before interest and taxes to come. between 16.3 billion and 18.2 billion euros.

But the forecast remained subject to uncertainties regarding the war, the COVID-19 pandemic and signs that spot freight rates were beginning to decline, the company said.

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Biggest rival Maersk (MAERSKb.CO) last week revised its demand outlook to the lower end of its forecast range, warning that sales of durable goods had stalled. Read more

“I agree with Maersk and expect a cooling from the fourth quarter,” chief executive Rolf Habben Jansen said in an interview with Reuters.

“All over the world, the economy is not growing convincingly and that is impacting our business,” he said.

The pandemic has also disrupted logistics, with many ports still congested, strained infrastructure and labor shortages, which together lead to longer turnaround times for ships and containers.

The first-half result – which was 2.7 billion euros for the equivalent period of 2021 – had been negatively affected by higher container handling and vessel chartering expenses, Habben Jansen said.

In addition, a 67% increase in transportation fuel prices to $703 per tonne added to unit costs.

January-June revenue rose 94% to €17 billion, largely driven by average freight rates of $2,855 per standard twenty-foot equivalent (TEU) container, up 77% from to the previous year, and also thanks to a stronger dollar.

The higher profits would be reflected in future dividend payouts and could also be invested, Habben Jansen said.

“But we don’t have to rush; we could wait for a good opportunity,” he said.

($1 = 0.9733 euros)

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(Reporting by Vera Eckert and Jan Schwartz, editing by Kim Coghill and Bradley Perrett)

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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