Jungfraubahn Holding AG / Key word(s): Half Year Results
1 September 2022
Ad hoc announcement pursuant to Art. 53 LR
Jungfrau Railway Group returns to profitability
In an Ad hoc announcement pursuant to Art. 53 of the Listing Rules, Jungfraubahn Holding AG states that the Jungfrau Railway Group can look back on a successful first half-year. After recording significant losses in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, the Jungfrau Railway Group reported a profit of CHF 15.3 million in the first half of 2022. Thanks to favourable weather conditions, all segments contributed to this encouraging development. There is a noticeable desire among guests to make up for lost time after two years of pandemic: In the Winter Sports segment, the best season to date (2007/2008) was equalized. The Experience Mountains segment approached pre-crisis levels and the number of visitors to the Jungfraujoch - Top of Europe increased by almost 50% compared to the previous year, nevertheless, visitor numbers stay 57% below those of 2019. The recovery of the international group travel markets, especially in Asia, is making only slow progress due to the multifarious uncertainties regarding travel restrictions and flight capacities. The Jungfrau Railway Group is cautiously optimistic for the second half of the year and expects a further gradual normalisation.
During the crisis, the company learned to react quickly and systematically to changing circumstances. This adaptability allows it to respond to the rapidly changing demand in the various segments by optimising resource usage and taking advantage of opportunities as they arise.
Rising frequencies at the Jungfraujoch - Top of Europe
The number of visitors to the Jungfraujoch - Top of Europe developed positively in the first half of the year. The main reasons for this were on the one hand the V-Cableway and the strong customer orientation, and on the other hand the mostly good weather and the end of the coronavirus restrictions. From January to March, it was mainly Swiss people who visited the Jungfraujoch. After the end of the last coronavirus measures, visits by international guests also increased from April. A total of 204,600 guests visited Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe, representing a year-on-year increase of 48.9%. Nevertheless, visitor numbers are 57% below those of 2019, as tourists from Asian countries still face coronavirus restrictions at home, which limit travel or even make it impossible. Also, there are both a lack of flights and bottlenecks in visa issuance. As a result, group travel largely remains in the doldrums.
Net transport income in the Jungfraujoch - Top of Europe segment amounted to CHF 26.6 million, which corresponds to a disproportionate increase of 83.1%. This was due in particular to the guest mix, with an increased proportion of foreign individual travellers and the significantly lower use of special offers compared to the previous year.
More guests on the Experience Mountains - record for winter season equalized
For the Experience Mountains segment, the Jungfrau Railway Group recorded a net transport income of CHF 8.8 million, an increase of 129%. Except for the Lauterbrunnen-Mürren Mountain Rail- and Cableway, guest numbers in the Experience Mountains segment returned to the pre-pandemic levels of 2019. The Harder Funicular achieved an increase of 145.4% in the first half of 2022 with 194,000 ascents and descents (compared to 79,000 ascents and descents in the same period in 2021) The First Gondola recorded 150,000 guests (from valley station) in the first half of the year, which corresponds to an increase of 128.9% compared to the same period in 2021 (65,500 guests in 2021). The Lauterbrunnen-Mürren Rail- & Cableway (BLM) had 108,500 visitors, 129.0% more guests than in the same period in 2021 (from valley station: 47,400 guests).
In the 2022 reporting period, 1,057,500 skier visits (first-time visitors) were recorded. This represents 49.8% more than in the same period in 2021. Based on the entire winter season 2021/2022, the record of 1,251,000 skier visits set in the 2007/2008 winter season was virtually equalized with 1,249,760 skier visits. There is a reason for the high frequencies: The completion of the V-Cableway has brought the Jungfrau Ski Region back into the winter sports “Champions League”.
The second winter season with the V-Cableway has thus confirmed that the new Eiger Express tricable gondola and the Grindelwald-Männlichen Gondola represent a considerable increase in attractiveness for winter sports in the Jungfrau Ski Region. The Jungfrau Railway Group's proportionate net transport income from winter sports increased by CHF 11.1 million, or 67.6%, to a new record of CHF 27.5 million in the reporting period.
Car-free resorts: Important projects for a better exploitation
Thanks to ongoing projects, the car-free villages of Wengen and Mürren will be able to count on even better public transport connections in future. Work on the complete renovation of the Grütschalp-Mürren adhesion railway is on track. The reconstruction of Mürren station is currently in full swing. The station is being adapted to meet today's requirements for barrier-free access to the train and step-free entry to the train. The renovated Mürren station is scheduled to go into operation in November. Another intensive construction phase for the track renewal will take place in October. The overall project involves an investment of CHF 63 million, which has been secured by the Canton of Berne.
Like the new rolling stock of the Mürren adhesion railway, the Wengen Shuttle will also start operation with the timetable change in December 2023. The three new locomotives can already be seen on the Wengernalp Railway (WAB) network during so-called commissioning runs. The Wengen Shuttle will increase the frequency of public transport services between Lauterbrunnen and Wengen and offer passengers travelling to Wengen more space for luggage and other items. Jungfraubahn Holding AG is thus increasing the attractiveness of the already very good public transport connection.
In the Winter Sports segment, the use of public transport has become much more attractive thanks to the V-Cableway, with an average time saving of 47 minutes from Interlaken Ost to the ski slopes. In addition, from the coming 2022/2023 winter season, travel from Interlaken Ost on the Bernese Oberland Railway (BOB) will be included in all winter sports passes.
Promoting rail instead of road is an essential part of the Jungfrau Railway Group's sustainability strategy. The aim is to achieve integrated sustainability management with a view to the seven Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that are central to the company. At the same time, reporting is being expanded in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards. In the first half of 2022, the measures in connection with the seven selected SDGs were refined and concretised in workshops as well as anchored in all business areas. Furthermore, the first steps towards reporting the company's carbon footprint were initiated. The latter is also happening in connection with the University of Bern's project "CO2-neutral Tourism Region Oberland Ost". ISO 14001 certification in environmental management will take place as early as 2023.
The trend of the first half of 2022 continued in the peak season months of July and August. The course of business in the second half of 2022 will continue to be characterised by global uncertainties that cannot be influenced by the company: the development of the coronavirus situation, the war in Ukraine, the general global economic, price and currency development, as well as bottlenecks in intercontinental flights and visa issuing in certain Asian countries.
Despite the encouraging first half of the year, 2022 is and will remain a year of transition with many unknowns. The Jungfrau Railway Group hopes to take another step back to pre-pandemic results in the 2023 financial year. For this, a further normalisation of the international travel markets - especially in group travel - is necessary.
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Jungfraubahn Holding AG
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Regulated Unofficial Market in Frankfurt, Stuttgart; SIX Swiss Exchange
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