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Hamburger Hafen Keeps Sales Forecast on Land-Cargo Volume

May 14 (Bloomberg) -- Hamburger Hafen & Logistik AG, which handles about 80 percent of containers at the port of Hamburg, stuck to a forecast of possible revenue growth this year after first-quarter volume at its rail and trucking operations rose.

Revenue in 2013 may total 1.1 billion euros ($1.43 billion) to 1.2 billion euros, the Hamburg-based company said today in a statement. That compares with sales last year of 1.13 billion euros. The intermodal division, which includes the company’s land-transport operations, will probably handle more freight this year, while container volume at the port unit will about match the 2012 level, it said.

Port operators in Europe are struggling with recessions stemming from the region’s sovereign-debt crisis. Growth at Hamburger Hafen and smaller local competitor Eurogate is also hampered as a dredging project to deepen the river Elbe is held up by a lawsuit by environmental groups, and a ruling isn’t expected before 2014.

First-quarter earnings before interest and taxes rose 13 percent to 38.5 million euros, the company said. Profit was bolstered by the sale of the Altenwerder logistics center in Hamburg, said Karl Olaf Petters, a spokesman. Earnings exceeded the 33.9 million-euro average of four analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales fell 2.7 percent to 279 million euros. Revenue beat the average estimate of 267.8 million euros.

Cargo volume at the port division rose 5 percent to 1.8 million containers, helped by growth in trade with Asian and Baltic countries and by the company’s Black Sea terminal in Odessa, Ukraine, the company said. Excluding year-earlier figures from the former Transfracht unit, volume at the intermodal business jumped more than 20 percent, it said.

Hamburger Hafen rose as much as 1.6 percent to 17.89 euros, the highest intraday price since March 19, at 9:54 a.m. in Frankfurt. That propelled the stock to a 0.4 percent gain this year, valuing the company at 1.3 billion euros.

The port operator is forecasting Ebit this year will decline to within a range of 155 million euros to 175 million euros, from 186 million euros in 2012.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nicholas Brautlecht in Hamburg at nbrautlecht@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Angela Cullen at acullen8@bloomberg.net

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