Consolidation Bug Grips French Resorts

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SAM Magazine-Paris, France, Jan. 4, 2007-Consolidation in the resort world is a global phenomenon. In the most recent chapter in Europe, ski resort operator Compagnie des Alpes (CDA) is holding talks with Groupe Sofival and its main shareholders in an attempt to merge the ski area management activities of the two groups.

Groupe Sofival is a major player in the French Alps, counting Val d'Isere, Avoriaz, Valmorel and La Rosiere among its holdings. These four ski resorts represent 3.7 million skier-days and racked up sales of 80 million euros in 2005.

Compagnie des Alpes is also a heavyweight. The company runs 14 ski areas across Europe, including the French ski areas of Tignes, Les Arcs, La Plagne, les Menuires and Meribel. For the last fiscal year, CDA's sales were EUR456 million.

Officials from both companies claim that the resorts are complementary and that a consolidation will lead to added value for both groups.

At present, CDA also has joint real estate ventures with Intrawest at Les Arcs and Flaine.

In addition to the CDA's ski resort holdings, the company operates 21 leisure parks. Operations span seven European countries: France, Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and the UK. \



The eventual CDA and Group Sofival should prove to be a necessary and good merger for the industry in the French Alps. This should improve the the health of the industry and structuraly will make the areas much more economicaly viable. I would welcome this merger.