Compagnie des Alpes posted consolidated sales of €498.2 M for the 1st half of financial year 2018/2019, an increase of +3.2% on a restated basis (+2.8% on a comparable scope basis) compared with the 1st half of the previous financial year.
Ski Areas: another rise in sales
Ski Area sales rose by +4.3% in the course of the first half of the current financial year compared with the same period last year, reaching €384.7 M.
After a particularly dynamic 1st quarter, sales reached €330.1 M for the 2nd quarter, increasing by +2.5%.
To date, the ski season has benefited from relatively favorable conditions in terms of snowfall and sunlight. The year’s snowfall began sufficiently early and fell in good quantities, which allowed the Group to open its various resorts at the start of the season. The Christmas school holidays, as well as the winter break period, were positive and balanced. The decent level of snow nationwide contributed to a greater distribution of skiers at various resorts, which allowed the resorts at lower to mid altitudes to attract more skiers and thus see business gains that surpassed those of the bigger resorts.
For the entire 1st half, lift ticket sales alone rose by 4.1%, boosted by a +0.9% increase in the number of skier days as well as a +3.2% increase in revenues per skier day. The first half was also boosted by the positive calendar impact – featuring an additional Sunday opening – which will be corrected in the 3rd quarter.
Leisure Destinations: acquisition of the first Austrian leisure park
Sales for the Leisure Destination division totaled €93.1 M, a very slight decline of -0.2% compared with the 1st half of 2017/2018, essentially due to the Easter holiday falling later this year.
After 1st quarter consolidation of business at a high level, sales for the 2nd quarter, which accounts for a small proportion of annual business, came to €23.8 M, versus €24.0 M for the same period the previous financial year (-0.7%).
During this period, the closure for renovation related work at the Grévin Paris site during the month of January was offset by the reopening of Aqualibi (which had been closed for renovation during the 2nd quarter of 2018). The level of business was nonetheless affected by the fact that the Easter weekend was later this year. In 2018, it fell between late March and early April, which led to the early opening of the majority of sites before the end of the 2nd quarter. This year, these sites did not open until early April. Adjusted for this calendar effect, sales growth would have been positive (around 0.5%) for the first half of this financial year.
For the 1st half of the year, the solid increase in spend per visitor (+2.1%) offset the slight decline in park attendance rates.
Acquisition of Familypark, the first leisure park in Austria
On March 20, 2019, Compagnie des Alpes announced the acquisition of 100% of the shares of Familypark, the first leisure park in Austria, consolidated as of April 1, 2019. The enterprise value of the acquisition was €72.5 M. In financial year 2018, this site generated revenues of €19.1 M and EBITDA of €6.8 M, and welcomed 716,000 visitors. It is a quality asset with high satisfaction ratings, located in a large catchment area without direct competition. In addition, the park shows genuine potential for development.
Holdings and Supports: successful integration of TravelFactory
In the course of the 1st half, sales for Holdings and Supports amount to €20.4 M, versus €20.31 M for the same period one year earlier.
The volume of business developed by TravelFactory increased over the first half of the year, and the group has continued to expand its activities internationally. After the successful launch of its Travelski site in Belgium in the first quarter, the Group is preparing to enter the UK and Dutch markets.
The consulting and assistance business experienced a slowdown in sales due to the completion of the project management assistance contract related to the renovation project at the Jardin d'Acclimatation, which ran until the site reopened in June 2018. The Compagnie des Alpes nonetheless continues to collaborate on this site with the LVMH group via a management assistance contract and a marketing contract. During the 2nd quarter, other revenue from the consulting and assistance business mainly concerned contracts signed during the first quarter, particularly in China.
Sales trends for the rest of the year
The outlook for 2018/2019 provided below is given barring the occurrence of any major adverse events.
- Ski Areas
- The third quarter represents, on average, around 12% of annual sales (while the fourth quarter accounts for 1 to 2%). Given the construction of the spring school holidays and sales posted since April 1, the Group expects growth for the full year to reach between 2 and 3% for this division.
- The target EBITDA to sales ratio of between 36 and 37% for FY 2018/2019 is maintained.
- Leisure Destinations
- For Leisure Destinations, the bulk of the season lies ahead, as the second half of the year represents nearly 75% of annual sales. The Group has set an annual target of an EBITDA to sales margin of 27 to 28% (excluding Futuroscope). An ambitious investment plan has been approved to support this growth, increase the capacity of the facilities, and offer visitors an experience that contributes to improving their satisfaction. The main investments are indicated below:
- Parc Astérix, which features an expanded hotel capacity that has been increased by 50% (300 rooms versus 200 for the 2018 season) with the Cité Suspendue, a communications push on the occasion of its 30th anniversary and, since April 6, among others, the new attraction Attention menhir!, a 4D film that combines dynamic seating and special effects projected in a 300-seat movie theater.
- Futuroscope, which on April 13, 2019, inaugurated a new area for kids called Futuropolis. With its 21 games and attractions spread over 3 hectares, this mini-city caters to the needs of children in a fun and educational way that addresses their future career aspirations.
- Walibi Rhône Alpes, which continues its overhaul and this season celebrates its 40th anniversary, continues to refine the theme of the Festival City area with a new food court and two new attractions, including Mystic, a new roller coaster that is 575 meters long and features a vertical drop of 31 meters, and Les P’tits Chaudrons , a more family-friendly attraction.
- Walibi Belgium, which this season continues the transformation it began last year, is opening two new areas: Karma World, which focuses on Indian culture, with a new indoor attraction called Popcorn Revenge, which is interactive, and Fun World, with a family-friendly roller coaster.
- Also in Belgium, Bellewaerde plans to inaugurate an indoor aquatic park covering 3,000 m² that will have a second gate and operate on a standalone basis while also benefiting from strong synergies with the existing park.
- On July 1, 2019, Walibi Holland will inaugurate a new hybrid coaster (wood and metal) known as Untamed. It is part of a more global renovation of the Sherwood Forest theme area.