Strategy & Outlook

The prime strategic objective of the Hapag-Lloyd Group is to achieve long-term profitable growth measured on the basis of developments in the transport volume and the key performance indicators of EBITDA and EBIT.

The growing global demand for container transportation is the very foundation of the organic growth which Hapag-Lloyd hopes to achieve. IHS Global Insight (October 2018) has forecast a rise in global container shipments of 4.0% to around
146 million TEU in 2018 and a further 4.9% to approximately 153 million TEU in 2019. Hapag-Lloyd intends to increase the transport volume organically in line with market growth.

The generation of sustainable cash flows, solid corporate financing, and therefore in particular a sufficient liquidity and equity base, are once again key cornerstones of the Hapag-Lloyd Group’s corporate strategy in the 2018 financial year.
As at 30 September 2018, the Hapag-Lloyd Group had a liquidity reserve (consisting of cash, cash equivalents and unused credit facilities) totalling EUR 1,005.3 million (31 December 2017: EUR 1,059.5 million).

The merger with UASC is regarded as a key strategic step towards strengthening Hapag-Lloyd’s market position and competitiveness. It is anticipated that the synergies from the merger with UASC will contribute approximately USD 435 million per annum from the 2019 financial year onwards. The Executive Board of Hapag-Lloyd AG expects that up to 90% of these synergies can be achieved in 2018. One-off expenses of approximately USD 5 million were incurred in the first
9 months of 2018 from the transaction and implementation of the merger. Further material expenses for the integration of UASC’s container shipping activities are not anticipated.

Based on developments in the first 5 months of the 2018 financial year, the Executive Board of Hapag-Lloyd AG decided on 29 June 2018 to refine its then outlook for the Group’s EBIT and EBITDA in the current 2018 financial year based on a range as follows:

  Previous outlook  Revised Outlook 
EBITDA (earnings before , taxes, depreciation and amortisation), Hapag-Lloyd Group Increasing clearly  EUR 900 - 1,150 m 
EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes),
Hapag-Lloyd Group
Increasing clearly  EUR 200 - 450 m 

The reasons for adjusting the forecast were the unpredictably sharp increase in operating costs, in particular with regard to fuel costs and charter rates, combined with a slower than anticipated recovery in freight rates ahead of the peak season.

The ranges chosen were reflective of both the generally volatile market environment in the container shipping industry and the high degree of sensitivity of the earnings indicators with regard to changes in the average freight rate. Neither positive nor negative one-time-effects have been taken into account.

Due to the business developments in the third quarter of 2018 and a general recovery in freight rates during the peak season, it can be assumed at present that Group EBIT and Group EBITDA will be in the upper part of the guided ranges.

Not accounted for here are impairments on goodwill, other intangible assets and property, plant and equipment.
Although not expected at present, these adjustments cannot be ruled out given current geopolitical developments and market price risks.

The key benchmark figures for the 2018 outlook are contained in the following table:

Key benchmark figures for the 2018 outlook Outlook
Global economic growth (IMF) +3.7%
Increase in global trade (IMF)
Increase in global container transport volume (IHS) +4.0%
Transport volume, Hapag-Lloyd Group
Increasing clearly
Average bunker consumption, Hapag-Lloyd Group Increasing clearly
Average freight rate, Hapag-Lloyd Group On previous year's level
EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation), Hapag-Lloyd Group EUR 900 - 1,150 m
EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes), Hapag-Lloyd Group EUR 200 - 450 m
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