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Chances and limitations of business reconfiguration of alpine SME mountain railway companies: The case of Switzerland and South Tyrol

Christian Laesser, Frieda Raich & Harald Pechlaner

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abstract Mountain railway companies, business reconfiguration, Alps
   
type book chapter (Deutsch)
   
keywords This paper contributes to the study of economic sustainability of mountain railway companies (i.e. rack railways, cable cars, aerial passenger tramways, chair lifts, ski lifts, etc.).
This industry faces a challenging future driven by quickly changing and declining customer demand as well as a changing business environment. This study explores chances and limitations of business reconfiguration measures in terms of integration and co-operation with regard to their contribution to economic sustainability of this industry. Cash flow serves as a key characteristic of that sustainability. Based on Swiss cross-sectional data consisting of
financial and design data, a number of hypotheses are tested by means of regression models. The discussion of the model results are enriched by illustrations generated from longitudinal data of Switzerland's neighboring country, the province of South Tyrol.
The results of the analysis reveal that differences in cash flow are primarily driven by the variability of revenues (and thus market suitability) and less by expenses/ costs, which turn out to be strongly associated with the size and configuration of infrastructure and the degree of its operations. Furthermore, revenue productivity in terms of cash flow ratio of revenues is not necessarily a matter of size of a company. In consequence, the paper thus discusses different reconfiguration strategies and their potential impacts on cash flow.
As a generic type of strategy, a horizontal form of integration combined with vertical reconfiguration by means of cooperation is proposed, the first primarily aimed at capacity optimisation and the second one at increasing demand and revenues allocation.
   
book title The future of SME in tourism
date of appearance 2004
publisher AIEST (St. Gallen)
series title AIEST Editions (46)
ISBN 3-9521723-5-9
page(s) 179-200
citation Laesser, C., Raich, F., & Pechlaner, H. (2004). Chances and limitations of business reconfiguration of alpine SME mountain railway companies: The case of Switzerland and South Tyrol. In The future of SME in tourism (pp. 179-200). St. Gallen: AIEST. - ISBN 3-9521723-5-9.