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Hamburger Hafen secures its receivables
01 Sep 16
Hanjin’s creditor protection proceeding is not causing any problems for HHLA. Hanjin is a rather small shipping company for Hamburg and open trade receivables are covered by an insurance policy in the first place. The port is still in the process of deciding how to treat newly-calling ships, i.e. whether these will be allowed into the port or whether it will ask for cash first before containers are unloaded.
One-off restructuring charge causes H1 profit setback
11 Aug 16
HHLA’s revenue and profit development has improved in Q2 compared to Q1 if we exclude a €15m one-off restructuring charge. The group’s revenue was up marginally by 0.3% to €289m in Q2 which brought the H1 number to €574m (-1.9%). EBITDA fell by 21% to €55m in the last three months and by 12% to €126m in the first half. The sales number is higher than our projected €568m while the EBITDA number is lower as we had expected €135m. However, excluding the aforementioned one-off charge, the profit number was unchanged in Q2 and higher than expected.
Poor Q1 volume and revenue but very reasonable profit numbers
12 May 16
The number of containers handled at the port (Container division) fell by almost 8% to 1.61m whereas the number was up by 2.4% to 0.34m in hinterland transportation (Intermodal division). As a result, consolidated revenue fell by 4% to €285m. The rates of decline were similar for EBITDA (to €70m) and EBIT (to €41m). However, pre-tax and net earnings were sharply up as net financing costs fell from almost €14m in Q1 15 to €6.5m. This is primarily the result of last year’s collapse of the Ukrainian hryvnia.
Clearly lower than expected 2015 profits but higher dividend
30 Mar 16
HHLA saw the container handling volume falling by more than 12% to 6.56m in its ports in Hamburg and Odessa while the number transported on-land (i.e. by Intermodal) was up by 2.7% to 1.32m. As a result, the group’s revenue fell by 5% to €1.14bn and EBITDA and EBIT were both down by 4% and 7.5% to €281m and €157m, respectively. Net earnings (before minorities) increased by 6% to €96m. All of these numbers are short of our projections. However, although management is giving a profit warning for 2016 (EBIT to fall to between €100m and €130m), it recommends a dividend increase from €0.52 paid for 2014 to €0.59.
Falling volumes, sales and profits
12 Nov 15
HHLA continues suffering from falling container handling volume. The number of TEUs handled at the port was down by 12% to just above 5m in 9M 15 whereas those transported to the hinterland were up by 2.4% to just below 1m. All combined and as handling fees continued rising, this has resulted in a consolidated revenue fall of 4.2% to €869m and an EBITDA drop by 2.4% to €214m. The Container and Intermodal divisions saw their net earnings (i.e. after minorities and excluding property profits) falling by 16% to €16m in Q3 but they are up by 20% to €49m ytd. While revenue is clearly short of our projection, the profit numbers are about in line.
Management reduces 2015 EBIT guidance
06 Oct 15
As a result of continuously weak container handling volumes, HHLA reduces its full-year profit guidance to a level that we expected when we last changed our projections a couple of weeks ago. Instead of expecting unchanged operating earnings of around €169m for 2015, management now sees EBIT falling to around €150m (we are as low as €143m). Consequently, we will not amend our projections further and the opinion remains positive now that the shares have fallen by some 30% since May this year.
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Fighting the waves
25 Oct 16
Management action in response to a tough trading climate and falling profits should contribute to a sound recovery in profits next year. Following share price weakness, the group is valued at a substantial discount to both the broking market leader Clarkson and to other peers. Meanwhile, if the dividend can be held, the shares offer a well above-average yield, pending an eventual improvement in trading conditions.
21 Oct 16
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FY17 expectations unchanged. Interim dividend maintained
25 Oct 16
Interims reflect tough markets which impacted Technical. Shipbroking delivered a resilient result and Logistics has performed well. The interim dividend has been held at 9.0p. The group anticipate an improvement in H2. The Board’s expectations for the year are unchanged based upon the strength of the order book due in H2, its ongoing market coverage and the benefits of action taken previously. We have retained our FY2017 PBT forecast of £8.7m and a maintained dividend. We reiterate our Buy and adjust our TP to 450p.
Doing things differently
25 Oct 16
Growing pains have impacted on its operational performance (EBIT margins 5.8% FY15 vs 12.2% FY13) and the HSS Hire valuation is at distressed levels (price to book 0.4x vs 1.3x at the time of the float). As the top-line catches up with the expanded cost base and the roll-out of the NDEC leads to greater efficiencies, margins and returns will rebound. Historical experience has shown that price to book ratios typically match these improvements (see Ashtead FY08-FY15, price to book expanded +196%). Therefore, we see scope for material upside in the share price as the expected operational recovery to progress. Our 12 month target of 115p equates to a 0.8x price to net operating assets
Risks discounted leaving significant upside
18 Oct 16
FY 2016 sales grew strongly at +22% but EPS growth lagged at +3% (our revised forecast -1%) as staff attrition and significant investment in new services held back profitability. Conversion of profit into cash improved significantly, at 240% in H2, as shorter payment terms and a lower level of extensions also benefited. We make no major changes to our forecasts and reiterate our view that Utilitywise is at the forefront of a changing energy market, supported by investment in innovative technology. The current valuation is entirely focused on the short-term challenges and ignores the growth potential supported by the new services.