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Hapag-Lloyd battles through 'seasonally weak first quarter'

May 13 - Hapag-Lloyd reported a fall in revenues during the first quarter of 2016, due in part to a significant drop in average freight rates.

Group revenues fell from EUR2.3 billion (USD2.61 million) in Q1 2015 to USD1.93 billion this year, as freight rates fell from USD1,331 per teu to USD1,067 per teu.

Despite this, Hapag-Lloyd recorded a positive operating result in a challenging first quarter of 2016. Transport volume increased by 2.1 percent to 1.81 million teu. The line reported a positive EBITDA of EUR123.4 million (USD140 million) in the first quarter of 2016, down from EUR283.6 million (USD321.8 million) in Q1 2015.

Earnings before interest and tax came to EUR4.8 million (USD5.45 million), significantly down from EUR174.3 million (USD197.78 million) the pervious year. The group's net result was a loss of EUR42.8 million (USD48.57 million), compared to a EUR128.2 million (USD145.47 million) profit in Q1 2015.

The Hamburg headquartered shipping line said the negative effects of the difficult market environment were partly offset by the cost-cutting and efficiency measures already implemented under its OCTAVE programme launched in 2015 and by a significantly lower average bunker consumption price.

"In the seasonally weak first quarter we recorded an acceptable result with a small operating profit and an EBITDA margin of 6.4 percent. This was due in no small part to the synergy effects which have been achieved so far as a result of the merger with CSAV and the improvements to our cost base under the OCTAVE programme, which we implemented in 2015," said Rolf Habben Jansen, chief executive officer of Hapag-Lloyd.

For 2016 as a whole, Hapag-Lloyd is still forecasting a moderate increase in EBITDA and a clear rise in EBIT compared with the previous year.

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