Arosa Bergbahnen AG has release information on the first interim results as of March 31, 2021 for the current 2020/2021 financial year, which was permanently determined by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and challenged the company in all matters. With effective protection concepts and without a single day of closure due to covid, the mountain railway company resisted the disturbances. The drop in sales of CHF 4.27 million (-15% compared to the 2018/2019 financial year) by the end of March is considerable and painful, but manageable. The atmospheric conditions with a beautiful summer 2020 with many sunny days and the excellent snow and weather conditions in the winter sports destination Arosa Lenzerheide also had a soothing effect.
The summer of 2020 brought Arosa a record result with low Covid case numbers and relaxed restrictions in combination with many sunny days and a brisk influx of Swiss guests from all parts of the country. The mountain railways recorded 187,000 first-time entries, more than ever before. Planning and preparation for the winter season in the wake of the second SARS-CoV-2 wave turned out to be considerably more demanding. The ski areas came into the focus of politics and the media. Lorenzo Schmid, Chairman of the Board of Directors, stated in retrospect: "The independent Swiss route with open snow sports areas, accompanied by strict protection concepts, turned out to be the right one. The winter sports destinations never revealed themselves to be sources of infection.
Arosa Bergbahnen gained its first experiences with the introduction and implementation of the protection concepts as early as October 31, 2020. "In the sixth edition of the November high, we opened the first slopes on the Hörnli for skiing at an early stage. Regardless of the SARS-CoV-2 situation the Arosa Bergbahnen, together with Lenzerheide, made the full range available for snow sports enthusiasts in order to convey a good feeling of space and space. The courageous approach paid off, "affirmed Lorenzo Schmid. The provisional guest and sales figures show the following picture up to the end of March 2021 ("Change" column refers to the 2018/2019 financial year without restrictions.
At the end of January 2021, there was a significant drop in sales (-22%) compared to the previous year, which had been good up to then. The uncertain situation and the clouded prospects of open catering establishments forced the company to take unpleasant measures. There was a noticeable recovery with strong February business. The weeks of March and the early Easter holidays at the beginning of April went well. The common snow sports area of Arosa Lenzerheide recorded a total of 1.128 million guest entries by the end of March 2021, a decrease of 11% compared to the 2018/2019 financial year.
Lorenzo Schmid comments on the expected business results as of April 30, 2021 as follows: "According to its own forecast, the mountain railway company will lose a total of CHF 4.9 million in sales by the end of the financial year on April 30, 2021 compared to 2018/2019. The decisive losses originate mainly from accommodation with -TCHF 1'000 and mountain gastronomy with -TCHF 3,200, which at least were able to maintain a limited take-away offer for the catering of the guests. " The stable earnings situation in the sale of snow sports tickets, the strict cost management as well as the mitigating effects of short-time working compensation for the hours lost by catering employees for the period December 2020 to March 2021 will lead to The Chairman of the Board of Directors is visibly relaxed that an almost neutral business result can be presented. Arosa Bergbahnen AG does not have to apply for a Covid loan. The final results of the annual financial statements with the detailed annual report will be published together with the invitation to the Annual General Meeting at the beginning of September 2021.
Forecast for fiscal year 2021/2022
The examination of the current situation and possible scenarios allows Philipp Holenstein, CEO Arosa Bergbahnen AG, to look rather hopefully into the near future. There are uncertainties about the development of virus mutations and the vaccination rate in Europe. If a renewed wave of infection can be prevented or controlled and an effective test strategy can be implemented, a good tourist season for summer 2021 and winter 2021/2022 is possible. "The pandemic also clearly shows the dependency of entire regions on the operation of the mountain railways. The economic stability is a cornerstone for the planning of the regional economic development of alpine destinations like Arosa Lenzerheide", the mountain railways manager points out. Arosa Bergbahnen AG has invested a total of CHF 23 million in performance development on the mountain over the past three years. After grueling months, a breather in the investment activities of the mountain railway company is the order of the day for the coming 2021/2022 financial year. The core investments in the next year will be limited to the Arosa Weisshorn cable car, 2nd section, with the replacement of the control with a new drive and brake hydraulics (investment TCHF 1,100) as well as the replacement of two snow groomers, one of which is a hybrid vehicle (Investment TCHF 1,050).
The summer season 2021 should have two pre-opening weekends on the weekends from 29./30. May and 5th / 6th June will be heralded (LAW 1st section, Bärenland, Brüggerstuba). Arosa Bergbahnen AG hopes that with the progressive vaccinations and the comprehensive test strategy, a scenario of recovery will occur, so that the official start of the summer season 2021 can take place on Saturday, June 12, 2021 with the continuous start of rail operations on the Weisshorn.
Further information on the 2020/2021 financial year with the final figures will be sent to shareholders and the media by separate mail at the beginning of September 2021. The General Assembly will take place on Saturday, September 25th, 2021, if the pandemic situation allows, preferably with physical implementation. It starts at 2.30 p.m. followed by a snack / dinner in the mountain restaurants.