Bergbahnen Beckenried-Emmetten AG recorded a slump in sales and earnings in the 2019/20 financial year, which ended at the end of April.
Less visitors, sales and earnings
In the 2019/20 financial year (May 1, 2019 - April 30, 2020) Bergbahnen Beckenried-Emmetten AG recorded a marked decrease in visitors. In the summer, this was just under 14% below the previous year. At the end of the financial year, those responsible had to record a decrease of a total of 87,000 first-time entries (minus 30% compared to the previous year). The fall in frequency also reflects the drop in sales, where a total of CHF 7.06 million (-8.4% compared to the previous year) was recorded. The operating result before depreciation, amortization and taxes (EBITDA) fell to CHF -7,503. After depreciation of CHF 1.11 million and financial expenses / income of CHF 0.98 million, the operating result before taxes (EBT) is CHF -1.22 million and the annual profit is CHF -1.13 million.
High dependence on weather and snow
"These unpleasant annual results are very painful, but were already foreseeable during the extremely bad winter", explains Chairman of the Board Res Schmid. "Despite the loyal regular guests for many years and the extremely high level of commitment and flexibility of the staff in all areas, we were unable to defy the extremely difficult weather and snow conditions," adds Res Schmid. According to Schmid, the main driving reasons for the negative development are the massively lower number of visitors in winter (minus 70,000 first entries compared to the previous year), which was primarily due to the very thin snow cover, the extremely frequent warm storm winds and the limited range of winter sports. In the wake of around CHF 1 million The four catering establishments operated by the railway were also withdrawn due to reduced traffic revenue. Thus, according to Schmid, with constant sales, massively higher costs were posted in this division. Schmid: "Despite a strongly increased, national marketing presence, especially with summer offers and advances in the online and sales area, due to our guest structure with 98% Swiss day guests, we are still fully exposed to the weather and snow dependency".
In addition to the negative trend, BBE AG, like all other mountain railways, went into complete lockdown on March 13, 2020. Short-time working compensation was immediately applied for for the BBE employees and the COVID guarantee loan of CHF 500,000 was drawn. Thanks to these measures, Bergbahnen Beckenried-Emmetten AG was able to resolve the liquidity bottlenecks due to the lack of income.
Challenging new financial year
Due to the difficult to assess COVID-19 situation, those responsible have budgeted carefully and in particular the control of fixed costs is even more important. In terms of visitor numbers, the mountain railway company is lagging behind. This is due to the complete absence of corn and the shortened June. "In July we were able to carry exactly the same number of passengers as in July 2019," explains Managing Director Roger Joss. In August, however, they are still a little behind the previous year. “Overall, the COVID-19 situation will keep us busy for a long time. We are currently developing catering and rail concepts suitable for the coming winter, ”concludes Joss.
New summer offers
The increase in summer attractiveness can be felt in the entire Klewenalp-Stockhütte area. In addition to the Bubble overnight offer, which is practically booked out on all dates for summer / autumn 2020, the ZmorgeGondel and the full moon AlpZnacht are also very popular. The 'HolzWelt' playground on the Klewenalp, the new barefoot path on the Stockhütte and the barbecue area in the Ergglen area, which has been beautifully designed thanks to voluntary work, contribute to increased comfort for families. New in summer 2020, children accompanied by at least one parent / grandparent will be transported free of charge on the railways. For seniors there are attractive combined offers with train and seniors lunch menu on weekdays. There was a very high demand for the new Foxtrail in the first 2 months, registered in particular by families and already over 700 participants embarked on the exciting scavenger hunt. The general subscription and the Half-Fare travelcard are still fully accepted and the online early bird benefits have now been introduced after a test phase.
Due to the COVID-19 situation, those responsible at Bergbahnen Beckenried-Emmetten AG decided to hold the General Meeting on September 24, 2020 - to protect employees and shareholders - without the shareholders being physically present.