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New orders for Hapag-Lloyd despite merger costs

HAMBURG: Hapag-Lloyd has reported a €603.7 million net loss for 2014 on revenue of €6.8 billion. EBITDA was €98.9 million, down from €389.1 million the previous year and the operating result fell from €67.2 million to minus €112.1 million during the 12-month period.

The company said its 2014 transport volume grew by 7.5 percent to 5.9 million TEUs while the average freight rate per TEU dropped 3.2 percent year-on-year to $1,434. The net loss was attributed to the one-off costs of acquiring and integrating CSAV's container liner shipping activities and an impairment recognized for a portfolio of old ships.

CSAV cochrane"In terms of results, 2014 was undoubtedly an extremely disappointing year. At the same time, however, the successful merger with CSAV also made it a highly significant, ground-breaking year for Hapag-Lloyd. We are now much more competitive and fit for the future, to which we are looking with optimism," said CEO Rolf Habben Jansen.

With the merger expected to produce annual savings of "at least" $300 million, Habben Jansen said the company is negotiating with several shipyards and will be announcing orders for new ships "over the coming weeks".

Noting the integration of CSAV's container business was on schedule, he said raising Hapag Lloyd's capital structure to €4.2 billion and a liquidity reserve of €920 million had enabled the launch of many joint projects from which the group expects a "substantial improvement" in earnings this year.

As the largest single shareholder in Hapag-Lloyd following the merger, CSAV has exercised its right to appoint its own CFO and replaced Hapag-Lloyd's Peter Ganz with Nicolas Burr, the former CFO of CSAV. "We owe Peter Ganz a great debt of gratitude – in a situation that has not been easy for him – not only for seeing the merger of Hapag-Lloyd and CSAV through to the closing, but also for being willing to complete the annual financial statements," commented Michael Behrendt, chairman of the group's supervisory board.

Together with Hamburg Süd and CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd will be contributing 20 vessels, including CSAV's seven new 9,300 TEU ships, to new services between Asia and Latin America from July this year.

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