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FB Roundup: Melia Hotels, Foley Wines, Gebruder Weiss

Escarrer family’s road to recovery after Melia Hotels almost hit zero revenue, US billionaire vintner Bill Foley finds record New Zealand profits in premiumisation, Gebruder Weiss meets rising demand in e-sales with new delivery hub.

Escarrer family’s road to recovery after Melia Hotels almost hit zero revenue

Spain’s Escarrer family is focusing on renovated resort hotels, incorporating independent accommodation providers, digitalisation and its loyalty scheme in its post-coronavirus travel recovery strategy after the family-owned Melia Hotels International suffered its worst semester in history.

The family business cut costs by up to 67% in its second quarter of 2020 to mitigate its 63% drop in revenue as global economies and travel locked down. Melia said its contingency plan safeguarded the liquidity and viability of the company in the short term, while the adaptation of its strategic plan to 2022 aimed to “maintain its leadership and leverage any opportunities in the medium and long term.”

Second generation Gabriel Escarrer Jaume, 49, (pictured), executive vice president and chief executive of Melia Hotels, said that in the face of the unprecedented challenge posed by Covid-19, the success of travel companies in 2020 will be measured by their resilience.

“This is not the time to be thinking about profits, but rather about long-term survival and strength, focusing on the basics and consolidating our competitiveness in the new era of post-Covid travel.”

Melia said its gradual closure of practically all its hotels in March led to a decrease in consolidated revenue from January to June, down to €319 million ($378 million), a 63% decline compared to the first half of 2019. The company described the “particularly intense impact” in the second quarter, when revenue of a mere €26.2 million ($31 million)—down 94% compared to the same period in the previous year—came perilously close to a “zero revenue” situation.

Escarrer said their strategic plan for recovery would build on their pre-pandemic efforts to renovate hotels and destinations and digitise while nurturing talent and transition to a more diversified business model. The plan “will be crucial for the future of our company, where the resizing of the market after the crisis will bring a more competitive business environment and a more than likely process of consolidation.”

US billionaire vintner Bill Foley finds record New Zealand profits in premiumisation

The New Zealand group of wineries and brands owned by US billionaire Bill Foley puts its 53% jump in profits down to premiumisation despite coronavirus headwinds.

Foley Wines announced its operating earnings were a record NZ $7.7 million ($5.2 million) while bottles sales revenue was up 13% to NZ $49.9 million ($33.6 million) and its reported after tax profit shot up 97% to NZ $6.9 million (4.6 million) in its new annual report. Although case sales of premium brands were up 2% for the year, case sales for the final quarter were down 27,000 cases compared to the prior year as global lockdowns impacted restaurants and airlines.

Foley Wines owns Martinborough Vineyard and Te Kairanga and the Lighthouse Gin brand in

Martinborough, Grove Mill and Vavasour in Marlborough, and Mt Difficulty in Central Otago. Texan businessman Bill Foley (pictured), 75, owner of the Vegas Golden Knights ice hockey team, is the major shareholder of Foley Wines. His principal business, Foley Family Inc, is a top 20 wine company in the US, owning 17 wineries with more than 150 dedicated sales personnel in the US market.

Foley Wines said it secured significant new routes to market in Australia and Asia during the year in line with its premiumisation strategy.

“Our intention is to focus on channels that want brands, and this is very much a value over volume play,” Mark Turnbull, chief executive, said in the report.

“As outlined in 2019, the value of the company’s portfolio and centralised business model is creating significant opportunities with retailers and importers seeking premium brands and streamlined

procurement. It is fundamental we keep to this course and continue to build our brands, underpinned by high quality winemaking.”

Foley Wines planned to start building a new restaurant, cellar door, distillery and barrel facility in Martinborough in November, to open in December 2021.

Gebruder Weiss meets rising demand in e-sales with new delivery hub

Rocketing online consumer sales during lockdown has prompted Gebruder Weiss to open a new $8 million home delivery freight handling hub near Vienna.

The $1.8 billion Austrian group said business-to-consumer e-commerce grew in almost all European countries in the first half of 2020. Consignments shipped by Gebruder Weiss increased from 410,000 to 580,000 items, from furniture to appliances. The family business’s home delivery division saw 40% increase in demand in Austria and five Middle and Eastern European countries compared to the first six months of 2019.

The company decided to enlarge its depot at Maria Lanzendorf, near Vienna, by building nearly 5,000 sq m of extra handling space.

Nearly 110,000 more consignments were shipped by Gebruder Weiss to customers in the Croatian, Czech, Hungarian, Slovakian, Romanian and Serbian markets between January and June 2020 compared to the same period last year. Hungary saw its number of consignments reach six figures for the first time to 100,000—a rise of 75%—making it number one outside Austria.

Croatia recorded 85,000 shipments, an increase of nearly 47%. The logistics provider said it intended to build on the success by expanding its activities in Eastern Europe, eyeing the possibility of accessing new markets in other countries.

Gebruder Weiss, the world’s oldest transport and logistics company, is wholly owned by the Senger-Weiss and Jerie families, including Wolfram Senger-Weiss (pictured), chief executive.

The family business also acquired a large stake in the operational business of Ipsen Logistics for an undisclosed sum to increase its presence in Germany. The move expanded the air and sea network of Gebruder Weiss in Belgium, Poland and Malaysia after recent pushes into South Korea, New Zealand and Australia.

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