Corporate and value management

HHLA’s primary financial objectives include the long-term, sustainable growth of its enterprise value. HHLA uses a Group-wide value management system for the planning, management and monitoring of its commercial activities. No changes were made to this system in the 2019 financial year.

Financial performance indicators

The key operational management parameters used by the HHLA Group are the operating result () and the (capital employed). EBIT and capital expenditure as key drivers of the average capital employed are the main intra-year and short-term performance indicators. Return on capital employed () is calculated for the measurement of long-term, value-oriented performance and is also used to determine the annual . The HHLA Group calculates ROCE as a ratio of the operating result and the average operating assets used.

Value management

ROCE – defining parameters and influential factors

Value management (diagram)

Value management

ROCE – defining parameters and influential factors

Commercial activities are generally regarded as value-generating if ROCE exceeds the and they make a positive value contribution. Such capital costs correspond to the weighted average of equity costs and the cost of borrowed capital. As in the previous year, HHLA used a weighted average cost of capital of 8.5 % before tax to calculate value growth at Group level in the 2019 financial year. This minimum interest rate reflects the Executive Board’s assessment of a medium- to long-term rate of return arising from a balanced relationship between equity and borrowed capital. This approach avoids short-term fluctuations in interest rates on the capital markets that may distort the information provided by the value management system.

The HHLA Group’s EBIT rose year-on-year by 8.3 % to € 221.2 million in the 2019 financial year (previous year: € 204.2 million), whereby the rise was mainly attributable to the first-time application of  16.  Earnings position Average operating assets rose by € 655.5 million to € 2,039.4 million in the reporting period (previous year: € 1,383.9 million), whereby the rise resulted chiefly from the first-time application of IFRS 16.  Financial position The return on capital employed () was therefore down 4.0 percentage points year-on-year at 10.8 % (previous year: 14.8 %), but nonetheless continued to exceed the targeted minimum ROCE of 8.5 % by 2.3 percentage points. The HHLA Group generated a positive value added of € 47.9 million in the 2019 financial year (previous year: € 86.6 million).

Key figures value added

in € million








Due to the first-time application of IFRS 16 in the 2019 financial year, there is no comparability with the previous year.


Of which 5.0 % for the Real Estate subgroup

Operating income






7.2 %

Operating expenses


- 1,213.3


- 1,134.0


7.0 %







8.3 %

Ø Net non-current assets






50.2 %

Ø Net current assets






12.1 %

Ø Operating assets






47.4 %

ROCE1 in %






- 4.0 pp

Capital costs before tax2 in %






0.0 pp

Capital costs before tax






47.4 %

Value added in %






- 4.0 pp

Value added






- 44.7 %

Non-financial performance indicators

The main non-financial performance indicators are container throughput and container transport volumes. In addition to the continuous dialogue that HHLA maintains with its customers, the company makes extensive use of macroeconomic forecasts as early indicators for volume trends and its operating activities. These include the anticipated development of gross domestic product for important trading partners and the subsequent estimates for foreign trade and import/export flows, as well as for container traffic on relevant routes and changes in the correlation between gross domestic product and containerised trading volumes.


Earnings before interest and taxes.

Average operating assets

Average net non-current assets (intangible assets, property, plant and equipment, investment property) + average net current assets (inventories + trade receivables – trade liabilities).

ROCE (return on capital employed before taxes)

EBIT / Average operating assets.

Value added

Production value – intermediate inputs (cost of materials, depreciation and amortisation, and other operating expenses); the value added generated is shared between the HHLA Group’s stakeholders, such as employees, shareholders, lenders and the local community.

Cost of capital

Expenses associated with the use of funds as equity or borrowed capital.


International financial reporting standards.

ROCE (return on capital employed before taxes)

EBIT / Average operating assets.