How do torrent owners benefit from it

"We won't let ourselves be squeezed"

As soon as the torrent trains have been rescued, those responsible are planning new investments in the millions. At Allianz second homes, people shake their heads.

In mid-April, the torrent trains pulled their heads out of the loop. Railways and creditors agreed on a massive haircut to save the company from threatened bankruptcy. It is not known how many of the railways' debts will be canceled. The creditors were initially prepared to forego 9.8 million francs, the railways demanded a discount of 12 million francs. The actual canceled debt should therefore be somewhere between the two amounts. The parties have agreed not to disclose the exact amount.

Expansion to torrent planned

However, those responsible did not remain silent about the railways' future plans. The steering committee of Leukerbad AG, which unites the tourist players in the spa village, announced that they wanted to look for fresh capital immediately in order to invest heavily again. As the «Walliser Bote» reported, the focus is on the necessary replacement investments, an expansion of the snow-making systems, new offers in the torrent area and the development of the pre-summit known as the Walliser Rigi.

Money from communities and private individuals

Meanwhile, the not insignificant financial resources are to be obtained from the municipalities, companies and private individuals. Second home owners are likely to fall under this category. This triggers a shake of the head at the umbrella association of second home owners, Allianz second homes. For two reasons. Heinrich Summermatter, President of Allianz Second Homes, on the one hand questions the sustainability of the project. "If a company can just barely save itself, it is incomprehensible that immediately afterwards people dream of investing millions again," he says. "Rather, you would first have to examine the entire direction and strategy and only then decide how you want to shape the future." Apparently it is ultimately the case that the previous concept did not work, because otherwise the torrent trains would not be in such an awkward position, says Summermatter. "We second home owners strongly reject such pseudo-solutions in the form of questionable investments, as sustainable success is by no means guaranteed," the President of Allianz Second Homes makes clear.

"We are not golden geese"

In addition, Summermatter is bothered by how the investments are to be financed. "There is probably no money from the banks, so the other players should take the risk," he says. "The second home owners come there, not only in Leukerbad, often just in time, as you can impose taxes on them without having to ask them for their opinion in a democratic way." However, second home owners are not golden geese that you can ask for cash at will. "At some point the measure will be full, even if you consider that the tourist taxes in Leukerbad have only just been massively increased," continues Heinrich Summermatter. "You shouldn't be surprised if owners of a second home suddenly go to court or if the owners 'children no longer feel like taking over their parents' real estate." If you want to invest, you have to find investors other than private individuals. "You can't squeeze us any further."

Martin Meul