Very positive results despite a difficult operating environment

Mathias Imoberdorf
Communication & Media Manager

Zermatt Bergbahnen AG presented its operating result on the occasion of its 14th Annual General Meeting, held on Trockener Steg on 25 September 2015. Even though the winter season fell short of expectations, the company generated a very positive operating result, reporting record figures in December 2014.

In the 2014/15 business year, Zermatt Bergbahnen AG achieved a significant increase in its operating result. Operating income increased by 2.2% to CHF 67.1 million. Reported EBITDA of CHF 32.2 million was 4.4% higher than in the previous year. At the same time, material costs decreased by 5.5%. An increase in real wages and the first-time full-year inclusion of personnel costs in the restaurant business led to a 3.2% rise in personnel expenditure. Improved sales figures, systematic cost management and lower financing costs resulted in a 6.3% increase in operating cash flow, which came in at CHF 28.1 million or 40.3% of operating income.

Markus Hasler, CEO of Zermatt Bergbahnen AG, comments: “Our financial key figures reflect the encouraging picture of an efficient business; in an industry comparison these are absolutely top values.”

Positive summer business thanks to fine autumn
The 2014 summer season had a positive impact on the overall balance. Very fine autumn weather helped the company to compensate for guest numbers in the early summer period which were down on the previous year. Guest numbers and revenues both increased, by 5.8% and 1.2% respectively.

2014/15 winter season fails to meet high expectations
The prospects for the 2014/15 winter season were positive thanks to the ideal distribution of public holidays and optimum timing of the Easter break. While many parts of the Alps were affected by a lack of snow, the installations and most of the slopes in Zermatt opened on time, for the start of the winter season, and enabled the company to generate record figures until the end of December. Sales and first entries rose by 20.3% and 22.2% respectively, compared with the five-year average. After an average performance in January and February, business collapsed in mid-March, mainly because of the weather conditions – a fact we were able to reconstruct at the end of the season on the basis of daily statistics. During the season, the area’s connection to Italy remained closed for 39 days, which resulted in a decline in the international exchange of visitors. Overall, the number of skier days fell by 3.5%, almost exactly the same as the increase in the number of first entries in the preceding winter.

New cableway projects planned
Zermatt Bergbahnen AG does not take these positive results for granted and will not rest on its laurels. “We will continue our efforts to increase the company’s earning power and financial strength through targeted marketing and an investment policy aimed at raising value and quality,” stresses Markus Hasler. And Board Chairman Hans Peter Julen adds: “Although we face a challenging situation due to the currency crisis and uncertain development prospects for the European economy, the Board of Directors has decided to continue the previous investment policy.

Key investments in the near future include the new Hirli chairlift for the 2015/16 winter season, the Gant-Blauherd chairlift, to replace the existing aerial cableway by 2016/17, and the construction of the world’s highest 3S gondola lift for the 2018/19 winter season (start of construction in 2016) from Trockener Steg to Matterhorn glacier paradise, parallel to the existing cableway.

For further information, please consult:

Markus Hasler
CEO, Zermatt Bergbahnen AG
+41 (0)27 966 01 01