German shipping major Hapag-Lloyd delivered a higher operating result in 2018 due to higher transport volumes, improved freight rates and ongoing cost synergies.
On the basis of preliminary and unaudited figures, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose to EUR 1,138 million, compared to EUR 1,055 million reported in 2017. Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) rose to EUR 443 million from EUR 411
million delivered in 2017.
The figures are at the upper end of the range forecast for the 2018 financial year, set between EUR 900 and 1,150 million for EBITDA and between EUR 200 and 450 million for EBIT, revealed by Hapag-Lloyd in June 2018.
The increase was driven by higher global transport volumes, steadily improving freight rates in the second half of the year, the merger with United Arab Shipping Company (UASC), and the resulting cost synergies.
Revenues increased in the 2018 financial year by 15 percent, to EUR 11.5 billion from EUR 10 billion reported in 2017, mainly due to the merger with UASC and the associated 21 percent increase in transport volume, from 9.8 million TEU to 11.9 million TEU year-on-year.
For the fourth quarter of 2018, the EBITDA was at EUR 324 million, decreasing from EUR 332 million reported in the same period in 2017.
Transport expenses were primarily driven by strong volume growth and a significantly higher average bunker consumption price of 421 USD/tonne, increasing by 18 percent to EUR 9.4 billion from EUR 8 billion in 2017.
On a pro forma basis and when compared to the combined business of Hapag-Lloyd and UASC for the full year 2017, the transport volume is up 6 percent and the average freight rate is up 2 percent.
*EUR 1 = USD 1,14