Monday, September 30, 2013

12th Annual general meeting of Zermatt Bergbahnen AG

The 12th annual general meeting of Zermatt Bergbahnen AG took place on 27 September 2013 in the ICE Restaurant on Trockener Steg. Despite the generally difficult economic environment, Chairman of the Board Hans-Peter Julen was able to present shareholders with a positive business result.

Zermatt Bergbahnen AG’s summer business showed an upward trend in the 2012/13 business year. The number of first entries in summer 2012 rose by 19.5%, not least thanks to the popular Raiffeisen Bank promotion. The summer skiing area also did brisk business, with demand for training pistes outstripping availability during some summer weeks. However, according to CEO Markus Hasler there is "still potential for growth" in the summer season. The plan is to tap this potential even more effectively through improvements in the offering and more specific target-group marketing.

Although the cable car sector benefited from an ideal spread of public holidays and vacation times in the 2012/13 winter season, Zermatt Bergbahnen only managed a somewhat disappointing 1% increase in revenues from winter traffic. The impact of the unsettled weather was clearly evident in the exchange of visitors with Cervinia/Valtournenche, with 6.4% fewer visitors from Italy. However, no significant changes were registered in the overall level of first entries per day.
Despite unchanged prices and visitor numbers in the winter season, revenue from passenger traffic increased by CHF 1.01 million. Overall operating income was up 2.25% to CHF 62.48 million thanks to a rise in secondary income and lower revenue reduction on credit card business. Material costs were reduced from 22.4% to 19.9% thanks to an optimized procurement system and improved purchasing conditions, coupled with responsible usage of materials and machinery.
There was no let-up in the level of investment: in the 2012/13 business year, Zermatt Bergbahnen AG invested CHF 17.7 million in the cableway installations, pistes, the artificial snow-making system, buildings and machinery. The biggest single item of expenditure was the renewal of the Sunnegga funicular.
Thanks to improved revenues, lower operating and capital costs, and reduced leasing payments, Zermatt Bergbahnen AG increased EBITDA from 44.2% to 47.4%, while operating cash flow was up to CHF 24.3 million, rising from 35.1% to 38.9% of operating income.
"A thoroughly satisfactory result from an efficient operation", was the joint verdict of Board Chairman Peter Julen and CEO Markus Hasler.

Zermatt Bergbahnen AG was created in February 2002 through the merger of Matterhornbahnen AG, Zermatter Rothornbahn AG and Standseilbahn Zermatt-Sunnegga AG, with the sport area of the Gornergrat railway as a contribution in kind, plus the takeover of the Findeln chairlift. This created Switzerland’s largest cable car company, with 240 employees. Together with its partners in Cervinia, the company maintains and operates 360 km of slopes and 56 transport facilities.

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