On behalf of the Ministry of the Interior, Economics and the Environment, grischconsulta developed a renovation solution for the Malbun mountain railways from January 2021. In addition to measures for the strategic further development of the entire Malbun/Steg destination, the overall concept includes a detailed renovation concept for the Malbun mountain railways. Linking the development of the destination with the development of the mountain railway company was a key factor in the project.
The overall concept was unanimously approved by the members of the Liechtenstein Parliament on Friday, June 3rd, 2022. This is a major step towards the successful renovation of the Malbun mountain railways!
grischconsulta developed a tailor-made project approach for the project with a project steering committee (PLA) set up by the government and a broad-based sounding board with various stakeholders.
The Malbun/Steg destination is the local alpine recreation area for the Liechtenstein population and the center of alpine tourism in the country. With the Bergbahnen Malbun AG (BBM), the central service provider for the mountain area was in financial difficulties.
In 2000, Malbun-Bahn AG, Triesenberg, and Skilift Malbun AG, Vaduz, merged to form today's BBM due to the poor financial situation. In 2003, due to the threat of withdrawal of the operating license, a new concept for more modern lift systems, snow cannons and other infrastructure was created. The state parliament and the municipalities approved the CHF 26 million project, 25% of which had to be financed from private sources.
As a further milestone, the General Assembly of BBM in 2013 approved the construction of the JUFA Hotel. As the main shareholder, the government also gave its consent to the project after the financing could be secured without direct financial involvement from the state. At that time, however, it was already questionable to what extent BBM itself would be able to ensure the return on its share.
SUPPORTING THE COUNTRY TO SECURE OPERATION IN 2020
In 2020, it became apparent that half of BBM's equity would be used up in the following year and that restructuring measures would therefore be necessary.
In November 2020, the state parliament approved an interest-free loan of CHF 700,000 for BBM to secure operations. The granting of the loan was linked to the condition that restructuring measures, including the unbundling of the JUFA hotel from BBM, are initiated immediately.
At the same time, the government was commissioned to present various variants for the further development of the Malbun/Steg local recreation area and for the renovation of the BBM, so that the BBM can be placed on a sustainable financial basis by the end of 2022.
DIVERGENT JUFA HOTEL
For the structural unbundling, the property of the JUFA hotel is taken over by JUFA in cooperation with a group of investors and is thus completely decoupled from the mountain railways at the company level. Contributions from the state and waivers of claims from banks and private investors totaling CHF 4.8 million are required to make the takeover possible.
THE POSITIONING OF THE DESTINATION MALBUN/STEG
With regard to the future orientation of the Malbun/Steg destination, the steering committee appointed by the government recommends a moderate (tourist) expansion of the local recreation area.
Seven strategic directions were developed, which are supported by the relevant stakeholders in the Liechtenstein mountain region:
1. Secure winter offer, target group-specific qualitative expansion
2. Expand summer/year-round offerings close to nature
3. Definition of "tourist and non-tourist areas" with defined uses (spatial planning)
4. Professionalize tourism organization / use synergies
5. Creation of long-term tourism financing
6. Strengthen the «Malbun» brand – create identity, anchor emotions
7. "Green Malbun" (measures for a sustainable Malbun)
THE RENOVATION OF THE MALBUN CABLE CARS
Derived from the strategic directions and due to the urgently needed renewal of the infrastructure (e.g. Sareis lift system and snowmaking), there is an INVESTMENT REQUIREMENT OF AROUND CHF 13 MILLION for the next six years for the mountain railways.
As part of the BBM RESTRUCTURING, a capital cut of 85% to 15% of the share capital is required for all shareholders to offset losses. Subsequently, a CAPITAL INCREASE BY CHF 5 MILLION. The investment needs described are co-financed by the state, the local communities of Triesenberg and Vaduz and private individuals:
- 48% State of Liechtenstein CHF 2.4 million
- 22% local communities of Triesenberg/Vaduz CHF 1.1 million (0.55 million each)
- 30% Private CHF 1.5 million
CONTRIBUTION TO LONG-TERM SECURITY OF THE OPERATION
The annual structural deficit of BBM, which will remain even after the renovation, is to be covered in the long term by ANNUAL STATE CONTRIBUTIONS OF AROUND CHF 650,000 (multi-year financial resolutions) and TAXES OF HOLIDAY APARTMENT OWNERS OF AROUND CHF 250,000 (tourism financing).
A new legal basis is required for the municipality of Triesenberg to collect holiday home taxes. Until the law comes into force, the annual state contributions will increase accordingly to CHF 900,000. With these contributions, BBM will be able to finance the necessary (replacement) investments.
The planned income statement showed that a structural deficit can be expected in all scenarios in the long term. In order to put the company on a healthy footing, grischconsulta proposed an annual contribution to secure the company in the long term and to finance replacement investments.
The proposed refurbishment solution will be implemented in the coming months so that the BBM will be refurbished by the end of the year.
The present redevelopment concept is a clear commitment by the government to the Malbun/Steg destination as an alpine recreation area and sports facility in Liechtenstein. Accordingly, the State of Liechtenstein, as the main shareholder and with annual financial contributions, should ensure the sustainable development of BBM as a central service provider. The local municipalities of Triesenberg and Vaduz also see it as their responsibility to make a significant contribution.
The government recognizes the great commitment of private individuals who have been working for the Liechtenstein mountain region for decades and is convinced that it is only possible to successfully and sustainably develop the unique Malbun/Steg local recreation area if all forces are involved.
- The substantive work of grischconsulta in the project (excerpt)
- Economic analysis of the Malbun mountain railways
- Strategic directions and measures for the Malbun/Steg destination
- Development variants for the destination and the local recreation area Malbun/Steg
- Reorganization concept with capital reduction / replenishment of the share capital plan calculation with different scenarios; investment planning
- Long-term financing concept with state contribution and second home tax
- Measures for the further development of the destination and the Malbun/Steg local recreation area: revision of zone planning with clearly defined tourism zones, securing tourism financing, reorganization and establishment of a powerful tourism organization, strengthening of the Malbun brand ...
Click here for the detailed report and application from the government. >>>>