Pilatus-Bahnen Reports Historic Record Results In 2023 And New CEO

PILATUS-BAHNEN AG recorded a historic record turnover of over 40 million francs in 2023. Thanks to the successful last two financial years, the company was able to repay the hardship benefits received during the Covid-19 pandemic amounting to 1.6 million francs to the canton of Obwalden. This means that shareholders can now participate in the successful business performance through a dividend. With an investment sum of 56.8 million francs, the once-in-a-century project “Renewal of the rack railway” was completed in 2023, easily within the planned cost ceiling. There is a change at the top of Pilatus-Bahnen AG: Sandra Bütler has been steering the company's fortunes since March 1, 2024. She succeeds Godi Koch, who is taking early retirement in May after 18 years.

PILATUS-BAHNEN AG recorded a new sales record in 2023 with CHF 40,119,186 million (+ 20.2% compared to 2022). In addition to the very good summer weather, the recovery in the main markets, particularly the US market, also contributed to this. The stable travel behavior of Swiss guests and the very good guest mix also show that the strategy is correct. The diversification that has always been practiced in the markets paid off again last year. At the same time, visitor demand can be better controlled thanks to new guidance systems.

Project of the century: completed easily under the planned cost ceiling

The project of the century “Renewal of the rack railway” was successfully completed in 2023. The bad weather in spring proved to be a challenge on the home stretch of the largest project in the history of the Pilatus Railways. Nevertheless, cog railway operations were able to start at the beginning of June with a two-week delay. In addition to various structural measures such as an additional platform at the valley station, barrier-free access to Pilatus Kulm and the ride assistance system, the new red railcars were at the center of the major project. They run as four double traction compositions with panoramic windows on the steepest cog railway route in the world. With an investment sum of CHF 56.8 million, the project was easily completed financially under the planned cost ceiling.

Repayment of hardship benefits and dividends for shareholders

In view of the two successful business results in 2022 and 2023, the Board of Directors has decided to repay the canton of Obwalden the hardship benefits received during the Covid-19 pandemic in the amount of 1.6 million francs. This means that shareholders can once again participate in the successful business performance by paying out a dividend. «When we needed the funds, the process worked smoothly and efficiently. It is with great gratitude that we are now returning the funds and are once again as successful as we were before the pandemic,” says Chairman of the Board of Directors Bruno Thürig.

Sandra Bütler succeeds Godi Koch as CEO

Since March 1, 2024, PILATUS-BAHNEN AG has been under the management of Sandra Bütler. She took over from Godi Koch, who is leaving the company at his own request after 18 years due to his early retirement in May.

Godi Koch joined the company as CFO in 2006. In 2014 he was appointed CEO by the board of directors. With his work, he has played a key role in the successful development of the company over the last 18 years. During his time as CEO, in addition to various optimization measures, the major projects Dragon Ride, the Fräkmüntegg adventure park and the once-in-a-century project of redesigning the steepest cog railway in the world took place. In the last ten years of his work as CEO, total sales increased from CHF 27 million to now over CHF 40 million. The corona pandemic posed a major challenge, which was mastered well thanks to prudent management.

Godi Koch says about his 18 years with the Pilatus Railways: “It was a wonderful and very successful time! During this time, Pilatus-Bahnen AG developed from a pure railway company into an overall tourism company. The implementation of the large projects and the achievement of the excellent financial figures were only possible thanks to a well-coordinated team. I would like to thank the employees and my colleagues in the management for their great daily commitment with a lot of passion for Pilatus!”

As the new CEO, Sandra Bütler now leads the fortunes of PILATUS-BAHNEN AG and heads the management team. She also works closely with the six-member board of directors. The 47-year-old from Lucerne has lived in Kriens with her family for many years and is well connected. She brings profound experience in the areas of business management, tourism, communication and events. For the past 15 years she was responsible for the management of the “Premotion” agency in Lucerne and successfully managed the company as partner and CEO. She holds a degree from the HFT Lucerne, a bachelor's degree in business administration and a master's degree in communication management.

Sandra Bütler is very much looking forward to the task: “I am thrilled to be leading the successful PILATUS-BAHNEN AG into the future together with a great team. I am very motivated to tackle challenges and maintain and expand my networks.”

Chairman of the Board of Directors Bruno Thürig is also convinced: “Godi Koch is handing over an excellently organized and functioning company to Sandra Bütler. The Board of Directors would like to thank Godi Koch for his great work over the past 18 years. The handover of the baton is in full swing and Sandra Bütler will impress with her professional backpack, the large network in Kriens and Lucerne as well as her considered, targeted and all-round positive appearance. We are very much looking forward to working together!”

PILATUS-BAHNEN AG is a successful tourism company. Around 250 employees work enthusiastically every day in the season and 140 in the off-season for the national and international guests at Pilatus. The diverse offering with the steepest cog railway in the world, the cable cars, the hotels, the restaurants, the seminar and banquet options as well as the largest rope park in Central Switzerland promise exciting mountain experiences with a guaranteed heart-pounding experience.

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