German container shipping line Hapag-Lloyd on Wednesday reported preliminary results for the first half of 2020 showing core profits above those of the same 2019 period and upholding its guidance for full year earnings.
However, the company said in an ad hoc announcement that the forecast was subject to "high uncertainty" due to risks related to the coronavirus crisis and its impact on the macroeconomy and global shipping.
Hapag Lloyd achieved a 20.3% year-on-year rise in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) to €1.15 billion ($1.31 billion) and a 28.5% increase in earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) to around €500 million in the six months, it said.
Full-year EBITDA should be €1.7 billion to €2.2 billion and EBIT €0.5 billion - €1.0 billion, it reiterated.
Analysts see a chance that container shipping companies, helped by cost discipline and the resumption of Chinese business activities, can prevent a steep decline in freight rates and benefit from a tentative recovery later in 2020.
Hapag-Lloyd has added several hundred million euros to its €1.1 billion - €1.2 billion reserve, allowing its operations to continue unhindered for 12 to 18 months should demand problems outside China linger, chief executive Rolf Habben Jansen said in May.
Final first half figures will be published on 14 August.