Excursions to the Jungfraujoch - Top of Europe continued to benefit from the diversification of the markets as well as the significantly stronger demand from Asia compared with the previous year. In terms of visitor frequency and net transport revenues, this was the best result in the history of Jungfrau Railway. In the first half of 2017, a total of 464,600 guests travelled to the Jungfraujoch, an increase of 88,500 on 2016. At the same time, the frequency numbers from the previous record year 2015 were exceeded by 40,000 visitors. At CHF 47.4 million, the net transport income of the Jung-fraujoch segment rose by 21.6% on the same period in the previous year. It paid off that the company intensified its work on the Asian markets and continued to strengthen the Jungfraujoch - Top of Europe brand.
The Jungfrau Railway Group experienced a remarkable increase in the number of visitors. For instance, First Railway registered an increase of 12.4%. In total, the net transport revenues of the ‘Mountain Experience` amounted to CHF 5.8 million, an increase of 33.8% on the previous year. The improved attractiveness, clear positioning and stable weather in June contributed to the very good result for the ‘Mountain Experience’. The earlier start to the summer season by expanding the seasons has paid off.
In the Winter Sports segment, despite an early start in November 2016, the result was below average for the 2016/2017 season. For the reporting period from 1 January 2017 until the end of the season in April 2017, the JUNGFRAU Ski Region, where the Jungfrau Railway Group holds a turnover share of more than 60%, registered 779,500 ski visits, a fall of 2.7% on the same period the previous year. For the Jungfrau Railway Group, net transport revenue from its winter sports business amounted to CHF 15.7 million.
In the first half of 2017, the Jungfrau Railway Group generated a profit of CHF 17 million, which is its best half-year result to date. This is an increase of 60 per cent on the same period last year.
The company generated an operating result (EBIT) of CHF 21.2 million and achieved an EBIT margin of 22.9 per cent.
The good result is mainly due to the increase in group business. The increase in earnings at the Top of Europe Shops also had a positive impact on the result. This confirms the newly defined strategy of the Jungfrau Railway Group to develop in the direction of an integrated leisure and service company.
Increase in quality and productivity
The Jungfrau Railway Group's investments in quality paid off in the first half of 2017. With the single seat reservation as well as the timetable extension, standing places were eliminated despite increasing visitor traffic and guest satisfaction further increased. By using new rolling stock, the round trip time to the Top of Europe has been shortened by half an hour following a timetable change in December 2016, and productivity has increased.
V-Cableway expansion Project
The strategic main project of the Jungfrau Railway Group is still the V-Cableway, in which the group plans to invest CHF 300 million. The aim is to strengthen the competitiveness of the Jungfraujoch as a world-famous lighthouse as well as the Jungfrau Ski region. Due to rulings by the judiciary, municipality and church board as well as the few remaining objections, the procedure has been protracted. The contractor commissioned a cableway technical expert to examine a required alternative routing. The existing lines were confirmed as the most ecological and economical variant. By reducing the column heights of masts 6 & 7, however, it was possible to optimise them further. A comprehensive dossier was also submitted to UNESCO. The Jungfrau Railway Group is hoping for a timely resolution to the objections in order to receive the overall planning permission in the spring of 2018 and to open the "Eiger Express" tricable gondola at the end of 2020.
Mountain Experience and Top of Europe Shops
In the first half of 2017, the Jungfrau Railway Group invested in increasing the attractiveness of its adventure mountains. In May 2017, with the Grütsch Trail from Grütschalp to Lauterbrunnen, the first freeride circuit in the Jungfrau Region was opened. At Harder Kulm the capacity bottlenecks in the restaurant were solved with the completion of the new extension at the end of June 2017. The First Glider also introduced a new adventure on First. The extended operating hours of the Mountain Experience allowed an earlier season start, which in general increased the attractiveness of the region in the intermediate season. The Rail Info of the Jungfrau Railways at the Höhenweg in Interlaken was extended at the end of June 2017 by a new Top of Europe shop, which guarantees the customers a comprehensive range of services under one roof.
Due to its strong position on the intercontinental growth markets and the diversification of the visitor streams, the Jungfrau Railway Group is well positioned for the second half of the year. At the beginning of the winter season 2017/2018, the Jungfrau Railway Group is taking over the leadership of the "Kleine Scheidegg Bahnhofbuffet" restaurant, due to its reorientation towards gastronomy. For the first time ever, due to change in the timetable in December 2017 together with the alliance partner of the Berner Oberland-Bahnen AG, there will be a half-hour round trip all year round between Interlaken Ost and Jungfraujoch.
Link to the 2017 half-yearly report, incl. CEO-video: www.jungfrau.ch/half-year-report