Compagnie des Alpes (CDA), the world’s leading operator of ski areas, is giving a boost to its diversification. The subsidiary of Caisse des dépôts announced, Wednesday, June 29 in the evening, the acquisition of the host MMV, operator of 11,500 beds in the Alps. MMV (for Sea, Mountain, Holidays), which has a total of 10 hotels and 10 club residences in 3 and 4 stars, is the second largest hotel operator in the French mountains behind Club Med. With two fundraisers since 2018 and eight establishments opened since 2019, the group created thirty-three years ago in the Var has abandoned its first “M”, the sea, to focus on the second, the mountains, and there. accelerate its development.
Compagnie des Alpes, for its part, operates many large French resorts under public service delegation, including Les Arcs, Tignes and La Plagne, where MMV is present. Its other business is in amusement parks, since it notably owns Futuroscope, Parc Astérix and Walibi. At the end of Covid-19, the CDA is one of the few mountain players with strong backs.
The takeover will initially concern 85% of the capital, the remaining 15% remaining “three to four years” in the hands of the two main managers of MMV. The transaction values the company at €172.6 million, including net debt of €76.6 million. A reasonable amount for a host which has just recorded, over the 2021-2022 financial year, a gross operating surplus (ebitda) of 25.2 million euros. This takeover is the logical continuation of the evolution of Compagnie des Alpes, created by the State to save French resorts and which has become a behemoth of French tourism. For several years now, the CDA has made no secret of its ambitions to extend its grip on the French mountain value chain, since it has invested in the distribution of stays, activities, and even mobility, by relaunching the night between London and the Alps.
A capital increase carried out a year ago announced greater ambitions, with the company saying it was ready, “to seize external growth opportunities in France and in Europe”. “The idea is not to become hegemonic”, indicates the group, which assures its desire to remedy the problem of “cold beds”, these apartments from tourist residences now out of the commercial circuits. Their growing number jeopardizes the ski industry, since it deprives it of customers in a context where construction in the mountains is becoming ever more difficult and expensive.
“By equipping itself with a quality accommodation offer focused on families, Compagnie des Alpes will be able to directly contribute to securing warm beds – by offering an alternative to sales by cutting – as well as to renewing the clientele of stations,” says Dominique Thillaud, its managing director.