11th annual general meeting of Zermatt Bergbahnen AG
The 11th annual general meeting of Zermatt Bergbahnen AG was held today in Zermatt. In spite of a difficult economic environment within crisis-stricken Europe and lower profits, Zermatt Bergbahnen AG has been able to make the necessary investments for infra-structure maintenance.
Successful year at the helm
As head of Zermatt Bergbahnen AG, Markus Hasler has been at the helm since 1 June 2011. Following a brief short induction period, he has already left behind his first marks and successfully completed his first year as CEO. Markus Hasler will surely face no shortage of work; within this challenging economic environment his task remains to further consolidate the balance sheet and simultaneously carry out or prepare for the necessary renewal and expansion projects for the benefit of the destination and its guests.
Necessary investments in maintenance and new projects realised in spite of difficult environment
Crisis here, crisis there – in Zermatt too one can feel the tough economic situation, although not as intensively as in other parts of Switzerland, and particularly in the nearby markets that are so important to Zermatt Bergbahnen AG. The combination of adverse weather spells and the well-known economic and exchange-rate-related problems led to a drop in sales of 4.8%. Nevertheless, to be able to claim a large slice of the highly coveted tourism cake, the infrastructure must meet guests' expectations. Only a modern and optimally functioning infrastructure justifies a fair price and can enthuse guests. Also in business year 2011/12 Zermatt Bergbahnen AG invested another roughly 11 million in the renewal of existing lifts and lines and in other projects offering guests greater value. The biggest item, and one that guests see directly, is the expansion of snow-production equipment to improve snow reliability at Matterhorn ski paradise. The main investments in maintenance were the elaborate replacement of the power grid connection to Matterhorn glacier paradise and the control system for the four-seat lift Theodul Express.
Outlook with far-sightedness
A chief goal of the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee is to improve the debt-to-equity ratio. Only with a better equity base and solid results can the foundation for future new investments be ensured. With this basis, projects such as the additional aerial cableway – a 3S – from Trockenen Steg to Matterhorn glacier paradise or the replacement of the Hörnli lift, planned with a long-term perspective, can come closer to realisation.
Due to well-recognized factors, the signs for business year 2012/13 again indicate no record-setting year. A cost-management program successfully put in place by the Executive Committee last year as well as intensified targeted marketing efforts are expected to further contribute to the midterm improvement of business results. Zermatt Bergbahnen AG is convinced that it is heading into a successful future with a good offer that satisfies its guests. Therefore, in the current business year too, the necessary replacement investments are being made as well as investments to optimise existing lines. The necessary replacement of the 32-year-old funicular will cost approx. CHF 12 million; the replacement line will meet today's comfort standards and will open in summer 2013, serving guests riding from Zermatt to the Rothorn area. An additional pumping station at Moosjisee forms the basis for the expansion of snow-production capacity in the Rothorn-Gornergrat area. The station will be completed by the beginning of the new season, allowing more kilometres of piste to be opened and thus offering greater value to guests.
Zermatt Bergbahnen believes in the value of its product. The company is carried by a team of motivated employees – nota bene the greatest capital of an enterprise – who constantly realize the improvements and innovations for the benefit of all guests. We are convinced that we are well equipped for the future.
For more information and photos contact:
Markus Hasler § CEO § Zermatt Bergbahnen AG
+41 (0)27 966 0101