Hapag-Lloyd raises 2019 operating profit by 80% on freights, costs

FILE PHOTO: A Hapag-Lloyd container is pictured at a loading terminal in the port of Hamburg Germany July 26, 2018. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer/File Photo

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German container shipping line Hapag-Lloyd HLAG.DE raised its 2019 operating profit by 80% to 811 million euros ($875.47 million) as it earned higher freight rates and cut costs, the Hamburg-based firm reported on Wednesday.

“The main drivers of the positive business developments have been improved freight rates as well as rigorous cost and revenue management,” said the company, the world’s fifth biggest operator, in a statement on preliminary results.

Operating earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) had previously been pegged in a target corridor between 0.5 billion and 0.9 billion euros.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose to 1.99 billion euros from 1.14 billion in 2018 and compared with a target corridor of 1.6 to 2.0 billion.

Freight rates, a key measure in shipping, rose by 2.6% year-on-year to $1,072 per twenty foot equivalent unit (TEU).

Hapag-Lloyd is due to give a 2020 guidance when it publishes full annual results on March 20.

($1 = 0.9264 euros)

Reporting by Vera Eckert, editing by Thomas Seythal