Compagnie des Alpes announced consolidated sales for financial year 2017/2018 of €801.2 M, an increase of 6.0% on an adjusted basis* and 3.1% on a comparable scope basis. **
Ski Areas: Skier days up for the 3rd straight year
Ski Area sales for the 4th quarter rose a significant +11.7%, to €6.8 M, primarily due to a positive base effect, as the 4th quarter of the prior year was penalized by fewer days of operation.
For financial year 2017/2018 as a whole, Ski Area sales rose by 3.0%, to €429.3 M, including the proceeds from a property sale that was completed in the course of the 3rd quarter totaling €2.4 M.
Lift ticket sales (which for this financial year represent 98% of business following the reclassification of real estate business under Holdings & Supports) increased by 2.1% to €420.9 M.
This performance was achieved in spite of occasionally extreme weather conditions that disrupted resort operation and led to many days of total or partial closure of slopes and lifts, particularly in the month of January. It attests to the resilience of this business in an adverse environment.
Growth in sales was primarily driven by the increase in revenue per Skier/Day which, after rising significantly during the previous financial year, has consolidated and rose by +1.3% this year. Growth was also boosted by another increase, for the 3rd year in a row, in the number of Skier Days at the Group’s resorts, which this year reached +0.8%.
Increasing the number of guests who visit these resorts is one of the major pillars of the strategy deployed by Compagnie des Alpes. To achieve this goal, the Group has rolled out initiatives pertaining to overnight accommodations, sales, distribution, and digitalization. The acquisition this year of Travelfactory, the leading online distributor of ski vacations in France, is in perfect alignment with this strategy. It will enable the Group to complete its retail offering of ski trips and mountain lodging as well as gain access to younger and more international customers while also expanding both its expertise and its digital footprint.
Leisure Destinations: Sales rise for the 5th year in a row, a +39% increase since 2013
Leisure Destination sales, which account for more than 40% of annual revenue, rose by 3.2% in the course of the 4th quarter of financial year 2017/2018, reaching €141.3 M, in line with the Group’s expectations.
For the 2017/2018 financial year as a whole, Leisure Destination sales rose by 4.3% on a comparable scope basis, reaching €339.9 M. The increase was primarily driven by the steady growth in spend per guest (+3.0%), sustained by a continuous rise in “In Park” spending, whose volume has increased by nearly 44% over the last five years. This increase is mainly attributable to growth in restaurant-related activities and, more globally, to an improved mix that better serves guest expectations.
Sales related to accommodation also rose, thanks to the partial opening of a new hotel on the grounds of Parc Astérix, which will be fully completed by the end of this year.
Lastly, the performance of Leisure Destinations is also the result of more guests: up by +1.3%, the total number reached a new record (on a comparable basis) of 8.8 million guests.
This increase in sales, for the 5th year in a row, brings aggregate growth in sales for this business unit over the last five years to more than 39%. It is the fruit of the customer satisfaction strategy (Very High Satisfaction) that was implemented by the Group and gradually rolled out across all facilities.
This season, the facilities that have made the most progress are those whose multi-year transformation efforts and investment plans are the most advanced: investments designed to boost appeal, the addition of new areas, increased hotel capacity. At these facilities in particular, attendance records were once again broken. Parc Astérix surpassed the symbolic mark of 2 million guests by the end of August and recorded 2.17 million by the end of the season. For the first time since it joined the Group, Walibi Belgium has exceeded the one million mark for attendance. Walibi Rhône-Alpes saw its attendance increase by nearly 30% in four years. For Futuroscope, there was a slight decline in sales this season, mainly due to the unfavorable base effect created by the fact that the facility celebrated its 30th anniversary last year.
The increase in attendance has not acted as a drag on overall customer satisfaction: once again this year guest ratings are up for most facilities. And the scores for new attractions opened in the last three years range from 8.0 to 9.5 out of 10, a sign that they immediately found their audience.
Holdings & Supports: the acquisition of Travelfactory is the year’s highlight
The Holdings & Supports division now groups the consulting business carried by CDA Management and CDA Beijing, the historic online distribution and real estate businesses of CDA (previously accounted for under the Ski Areas BU), as well as the business of Travelfactory, a company that was acquired on January 1, 2018, and whose integration into the Group is going according to plan.
Sales for this division amounted to €31.9 M, compared with €12.4 M, actual scope, for the previous year, which did not include Travelfactory.
The 2017/2018 financial year was also satisfactory for the consulting business, thanks in particular to the service contract for the Jardin d'Acclimatation in Paris (assistance with project management, operation, and marketing), which has been a clear success since the facility reopened for the season on June 1st. Contracts have also been signed or renewed in China, notably for technical assistance projects for the Thaiwoo resort. The year was also marked by the continuation of consulting assignments in Turkey and Georgia, for the ski area division, and in Moscow, for leisure destinations.
The Group reiterates that the reclassification this year of historic real estate and online distribution businesses under the Holdings and Supports BU has led to an increase in the EBITDA/Sales margin of around 0.8 point for Ski Areas. Factoring this in, the EBITDA/Sales margin for financial year 2017/2018 should be around 37%, as previously indicated.
In light of dynamic sales and successful operating cost containment efforts, the EBITDA/Sales margin for Leisure Destinations for financial year 2017/2018 is expected to continue its progression and the objective of 27% in 2018/2019 (excluding Futuroscope) is confirmed.