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Dynamic growth for Hotelplan Group

Hotelplan GroupJanuary 11, 2008
Hotelplan Group

Implementation of the corporate strategy makes an impact - reshaping of the management organization in Switzerland - Group revenues touch the 2 billion mark

The Hotelplan Group, which operates internationally and is an affiliate of the Migros Group, enjoyed dynamic growth in the 2006-2007 business year (closing date: 31 October). The Group achieved marked improvements in both revenue and earnings thanks to systematic implementation of the strategy newly defined in 2006. Total revenues increased by 13.2 percent to CHF 1.978 billion (previous year: CHF 1.747 billion). EBITDA rose by 48.0 percent to CHF 95.3 million (previous year: CHF 64.4 million). However, this result was strongly influenced by one-off effects. Operating activities generated an EBITDA of CHF 57 million, which represents a rise of 12.4 percent on the previous year (operating EBITDA: CHF 50.7 million).

The international business of the Hotelplan Group, which has been managed through a holding structure since the beginning of the new business year, developed very strongly, most notably in Great Britain and Italy. Interhome, Europe's leading agents for quality holiday apartments and villas, also got back into its stride after some difficult years. The overall performance of the Swiss travel business, on the other hand, is not yet at a satisfactory level. This prompted a realignment of the structure and management of the Swiss organization as a whole. Hotelplan Schweiz and the Travelhouse Group, previously separately managed business units, are consolidated with immediate effect in the company "Migros Travel Switzerland", the new integrated organization for the Swiss business. A new team under Travelhouse chief executive Thomas Stirnimann is taking over key management functions of this integrated Swiss business, which generates annual revenues of CHF 935 million, representing almost half of total Group sales.

Dual strategy takes effect

The travel sector, particularly budget holidays, continues to be affected by strong margin pressure. The Hotelplan Group's dual strategy - aiming to increase the profitability of the core business and selectively strengthen specialist activities - is beginning to take effect. The record results achieved by Hotelplan in Great Britain and Italy were driven by further operational improvements. The subsidiaries in both countries contributed substantially to the increase in overall revenues and earnings of the Hotelplan Group. Interhome, too, got back on track in terms of sales growth thanks to systematic implementation of the Group-wide optimization strategy.

Migros Travel Switzerland as a strategic initiative

The consolidation of the organization and operational management of the entire Swiss business under the aegis of Migros Travel Switzerland was a key strategic decision of considerable import for the Hotelplan Group. Migros Travel Switzerland is focused on three clearly defined market segments: Budget, Value and Premium/Specialist. Denner Reisen, recently acquired by Hotelplan Group, is also embedded in this structure. The separate market platforms of successful brands in the Hotelplan Group portfolio, in particular those of the Travelhouse Group, are to be retained.

The management of Migros Travel Switzerland, led by Thomas Stirnimann, who remains in charge of Travelhouse Group, has two new members in Roberto Luna and Walter Br├╝llhardt. They previously held senior positions at Kuoni Switzerland. At Migros Travel Switzerland, they are taking charge, with immediate effect, of the Budget (Walter Br├╝llhardt) and Value (Roberto Luna) segments; Thomas Stirnimann will be responsible for the Premium/Specialist segment. No decision has yet been taken regarding the future area of responsibility of Peter Spring, formerly the chief executive of Hotelplan Schweiz. However, it is planned that he will take over a new assignment at Group level.

Positive outlook

The strategically significant acquisition of the Travelhouse Group in 2007, along with the new management and organizational structure, will have a positive impact on the development of the Swiss business in the current year. With the sale of the Group-owned hotels and resorts in Spain and Italy, as well as the integration of Belair's routes into Air Berlin's international network, Hotelplan Group has made significant strides in the process of focusing on its core business. The Group is now better equipped than ever to respond flexibly to the constant fluctuations in demand.

In the winter sports and skiing holiday segment, the Hotelplan Group acquired the leading Russian tour operator Ascent Travel, thereby securing a foothold in a market with great potential. This acquisition also represents an ideal complement for the business previously focused largely on Great Britain. Commenting on the prospects for the Hotelplan Group, CEO Christof Zuber said: "Thanks to the strategic optimization measures and initiatives we have taken, in Switzerland and abroad, we are now well-positioned to meet the challenges and seize the opportunities in a travel market still undergoing a process of consolidation." The Hotelplan Group is also confident about the further development of the business in the current year and expects above-average growth in revenues and earnings to be sustained.

Bianca G├Ąhweiler

Head of Corporate Communications

Bianca G├Ąhweiler

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