Annual Report 2023

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 to plan, manage and monitor its commercial activities. No changes were made to this system in the 2023 financial year.

Financial performance indicators

The key operational management parameters used by the HHLA Group are the operating result (EBIT) and the average operating assets (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 (ROCE) is calculated for the measurement of long-term, value-oriented performance and is also used to determine the annual value added. The HHLA Group calculates ROCE as a ratio of EBIT and the average operating assets used.

Value management

ROCE – defining parameters and influential factors

Value management (diagram)Value management (diagram)

Value management

ROCE – defining parameters and influential factors

Commercial activities are generally regarded as value-generating if ROCE exceeds the cost of capital and a positive value contribution is made. 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 % p.a. before tax to calculate the growth in value at Group level in the 2023 financial year. This minimum interest rate reflects the Executive Board’s target 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.

Despite a weaker economic environment and the burden of high inflation and increased interest rates, the HHLA Group achieved a positive EBIT result of € 109.4 million (previous year: € 220.4 million) in the 2023 financial year. The year-on-year decrease in EBIT amounted to 50.4 %. Earnings position

Average operating assets rose by 4.0 % to € 2,361.2 million in the reporting period (previous year: € 2,271.1 million). Financial position

At 4.6 % (previous year: 9.7 %), return on capital employed failed to reach the targeted long-term rate of return of 8.5 %. This resulted in a negative value contribution of € 91.3 million in the 2023 financial year (previous year: € +27.4 million).

Key figures value added

in € million







Operating income






- 6.5 %

Operating expenses


- 1,418.1


- 1,413.8


0.3 %







- 50.4 %

Ø Net non-current assets






4.9 %

Ø Net current assets






- 11.7 %

Ø Operating assets






4.0 %

ROCE in %






- 5.1 pp

Capital costs before tax1 in %






0.0 pp

Capital costs before tax






4.0 %

Value added in %


- 3.9




- 5.1 pp

Value added


- 91.3






of which 5.0 % for the Real Estate subgroup

Non-financial performance indicators

The main non-financial performance indicators are container throughput and container transport volumes. In addition to the regular 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 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.

Other non-financial performance indicators such as the number of employees, rail-bound container transport volume and absolute CO2e emissions are recorded and evaluated on a monthly or annual basis by the internal management information system. The sustainable performance indicators are derived from HHLA's corporate and sustainability strategy.

Sustainable performance indicators

Field of activity


Key figure





Climate-friendly logistics chains


Container transport (in TEU)
Hinterland transport plays a central role in the climate-friendly design of logistics chains. Increasing the volumes transported makes a significant contribution to this.
Climate-friendly logistic chains
Intermodal segment


Increase in rail-bound transport volume to 2 million TEU by 2030


Expansion of intermodal activities

Climate protection and energy efficiency


Absolute CO2e emissions1




In order to reduce CO2 emissions, HHLA has been focusing on electrification and the use of electricity from renewable energies for years. Energy-efficient processes and technologies are an integral part of the measures taken.

Working world


Employees (headcount)
Headcount and personnel structure


Safeguarding the number of employees across the Group


Expansion and targeted development of growth opportunities in the intermodal business, development of growth potential in new digital business models


In the 2022 reporting year, the calculation was changed to CO2 equivalents (CO2e), so that in addition to the climate impact of pure CO2 emissions, the climate impact of other climate impact of other greenhouse gases (such as N2O) is also taken into account in the calculation.

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).
CO2e (CO2 equivalent – carbon dioxide equivalent)
CO2e equivalent (CO2e) is a unit of measurement for the climate impact of various greenhouse gases. In addition to the dominant greenhouse gas CO2, CO2e includes other gases with a climate impact such as methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). The CO2 and CO2e values are characterised by the energy HHLA's energy sources are almost comparable.
Cost of capital
Expenses associated with the use of funds as equity or borrowed capital.
Earnings before interest and taxes.
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.

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