Compagnie des Alpes (CDA) is the largest company in the European Ski Industry. Compagnie des Alpes was set up in 1989 by Caisse des Dépôts Développement (C3D) as a corporation with a Board of Directors. The launch of the project took place at the end of the 1980’s when the ski industry experienced a serious downturn, as a consequence of the impact of three consecutive snow-deficient winters (1987/88, 1988/89, 1989/90). Compagnie des Alpes flotation on the Paris Second Marché took place on November 18, 1994. On May 8, 2004 Compagnie des Alpes was privatize. C3D reduced its stake from 52.7% to 40%, through sales of shares to Crédit Agricole des Savoie and Banque Populaire des Alpes, financial institutions in the Rhône Alpes region as well as to Caisse Nationale des Caisses d’Epargne, which invested together with Caisse d’Epargne des Alpes.
Thanks to a recent agreement with SOFIVAL, the Group operates in the 2007/2008 winter season 18 ski areas (stake on the companies swing between 100% and 20%): La Plagne, Les Arcs, Tignes, Val d’Isere, Les Menuires, Flaine et Giffre, Méribel, Peisey-Vallandry, Serre Chevalier, Chamonix, Courmayeur, Verbier, Saas Fee, Riederalp, Morzine-Avoriaz, Valmorel and Le Rosière in three countries: France, Italy and Switzerland. The CDA Group constitutes 28% of the French market in terms of skier days, and close to 38% in lift sales. It makes up 9% of the European market for skier days. Compagnie des Alpes will be world leader in terms of visitor numbers with 18 million skier days in 2007/2008.
In June 2002, Compagnie des Alpes acquired Grévin & Cie, which offered full control of a new segment of activity: leisure parks. Between 2003 and 2006, a further five parks have been acquired. At this moment, the Group operates 21 leisure parks of different categories -theme parks, tourist entertainment attractions and nature and animal parks- in France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and the UK, representing 9 million visits per year in 2006.
«Two key motivations lay behind our decision to diversify our activities to include leisure parks in 2002: reducing the risk inherent in operating in the sole business line of managing ski areas in the Northern Alps and finding an added lever for growth in another area of the leisure business to counter seasonal dependence. Our vision was to balance these two activities. We achieved this in 2006 through the acquisition of five additional parks, four of which are operated under the Walibi brand» (Jean Pierre Sonois. Compagnie des Alpes. Reference Document, 2006: 5).
2007 Fiscal Year consolidated revenue of €505.7 million represented a 4.3% increase within comparable consolidated structure with €278.2 million from ski areas and €225.7 million for leisure parks. Net attributable income reached €28.1 million.
As a ski operator Compagnie des Alpes earns more than 90% of sales from ski-lifts. Despite adverse weather conditions, with poor natural snowfall, Ski area sales (55% of the consolidated total) rose by 3.3% like-for-like. The gain stemmed from lift revenue was €266 million (+0.2%).