HHLA’s performance data in 2022 was affected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the resurgence of the Covid-19 pandemic in China. There was a significant 7.9 % year-on-year decline in container throughput to 6,396 thousand TEU (previous year: 6,943 thousand TEU). At the three Hamburg terminals, the decline amounted to 4.1 %. This was primarily due to the decrease in cargo volumes to the Far East shipping region, as well as the decrease in volumes connected with Russia since the start of the war. There was a sharp decline in volumes at the international terminals due to the suspension of seaborne handling at the Odessa terminal as a result of the war. Transport volumes increased slightly year-on-year by 0.2 % to 1,694 thousand TEU (previous year: 1,690 thousand TEU). This increase is wholly attributable to rail transport. Road transport fell significantly against the previous year during the reporting period.
Despite the development of performance data described above, the HHLA Group's revenue rose by 7.7 % to € 1,578.4 million in the reporting period (previous year: € 1,465.4 million). This was due to the temporary sharp rise in storage fees at the container terminals in Hamburg, Tallinn and Trieste as a result of disrupted supply chains, as well as temporary price surcharges in rail transport, which were necessary to compensate for the sharp rise in energy prices. The listed Port Logistics subgroup developed almost exactly in line with the HHLA Group as a whole. Its Container, Intermodal and Logistics segments recorded an overall increase in revenue of 7.4 % to € 1,542.3 million (previous year: € 1,435.8 million). Revenue in the non-listed Real Estate subgroup increased by 15.9 % to € 44.1 million (previous year: € 38.1 million). The Real Estate subgroup thus accounted for 2.3 % of Group revenue.
In the reporting period, changes in inventories amounted to € 3.3 million (previous year: € 3.1 million). Own work capitalised increased to € 6.1 million (previous year: € 4.2 million).
Other operating income decreased by 10.7 % to € 46.4 million (previous year: € 51.9 million).
Operating expenses increased significantly by 9.1 % to € 1,413.8 million (previous year: € 1,296.4 million). Whereas the cost of materials and other operating expenses rose strongly, there was only a slight increase in personnel expenses. By contrast, depreciation and amortisation decreased slightly.
The cost of materials rose year-on-year by 19.7 % to € 484.6 million (previous year: € 404.8 million). The strong rise in the cost-of-materials ratio to 30.7 % (previous year: 27.6 %) was related to the high energy prices and major operational interruptions caused by ongoing supply chain disruption to rail transport.
Personnel expenses rose by 2.9 % to € 570.5 million (previous year: € 554.4 million). In addition to increased union wage rates, this was largely the result of the expansion of operations in rail transport, as well as the high storage load at the container terminals. The personnel expense ratio declined to 36.1 % (previous year: 37.8 %). While allocations to the restructuring provision were still included in the previous year, restructuring provisions were partially reversed during the reporting period due in particular to interest rate changes. Furthermore, supply chain disruption at the container terminals had a more noticeable impact on revenue from storage fees than on additional personnel expenses due to the storage burden.
Other operating expenses increased by 15.2 % to € 182.8 million in the reporting period (previous year: € 158.7 million). This was partially due to higher maintenance expenses and leasing expenses for rail transport. The ratio of expenses to revenue amounted to 11.6 % (previous year: 10.8 %).
Against the background of these developments, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) declined by 2.6 % to € 396.3 million (previous year: € 406.7 million). The EBITDA margin decreased to 25.1 % (previous year: 27.8 %).
Depreciation and amortisation was down slightly year-on-year by 1.5 % to € 175.9 million (previous year: € 178.5 million).
The operating result (EBIT) decreased by 3.4 % to € 220.4 million in the reporting period (previous year: € 228.2 million). The main factors driving this trend were the operational interruptions and higher subsidies for route prices granted retroactively in the case of rail transport, a sharp rise in energy costs and losses relating to new logistics activities. The EBIT margin decreased strongly year-on-year by 14.0 % (previous year: 15.6 %). In the Port Logistics subgroup, EBIT fell by 5.2 % to € 201.6 million (previous year: € 212.6 million). As a result, the subgroup accounted for 91.5 % (previous year: 93.2 %) of the Group’s operating result in the reporting period. By contrast, EBIT rose by 20.9 % to € 18.4 million in the Real Estate subgroup (previous year: € 15.3 million). This accounted for 8.5 % of the Group’s operating result (previous year: 6.8 %).
Net expenses from the financial result fell by € 10.3 million, or 28.3 %, to € 26.2 million (previous year: € 36.6 million). This change was mainly due to an expense recognised in the previous year relating to the revaluation of a settlement liability for the profit transfer of a subsidiary with minority shareholders amounting to € 10.1 million.
At 31.5 %, the Group’s effective tax rate was higher than in the previous year (previous year: 30.6 %).
Profit after tax and minority interests decreased by 17.5 % year-on-year to € 92.7 million (previous year: € 112.3 million). Non-controlling interests accounted for € 40.4 million in the 2022 financial year (previous year: € 20.6 million). From a financial point of view, this item included the earnings mentioned in relation to the financial result associated with revaluing the settlement obligation to a minority shareholder in the previous year. Earnings per share decreased by 17.5 % to € 1.23 (previous year: € 1.50). The publicly listed Port Logistics subgroup posted a 20.4 % drop in earnings per share to € 1.13 (previous year: € 1.43). Earnings per share of € 3.93 for the non-listed Real Estate subgroup were up on the prior-year figure (previous year: € 3.41). As in the previous year, there was no difference between basic and diluted earnings per share in 2022.
The return on capital employed (ROCE) was down 0.9 percentage points year-on-year at 9.7 % (previous year: 10.6 %). Corporate and value management
HHLA’s appropriation of profits is oriented towards the development of the HHLA Group’s earnings in the financial year ended. The distributable profit and HHLA’s stable financial position form the foundation of the company’s consistent profit distribution policy.
On this basis, the Executive Board and Supervisory Board will, as in the previous year, propose the distribution of a cash dividend of € 0.75 per entitled, listed class A share at the Annual General Meeting on 15 June 2023. If approved by the Annual General Meeting, the amount to be distributed for the class A shares would thus amount to € 54.4 million, as in the previous year. The Executive Board and Supervisory Board will propose a cash dividend of € 2.20 (previous year: € 2.10) per non-listed class S share. The sum to be distributed for class S shares would thus amount to € 5.9 million (previous year: € 5.7 million).