Home » U.S. resort firm, Vail, acquires majority stake in Swiss resort firm linked to Egyptian billionaire Samih Sawiris

U.S. resort firm, Vail, acquires majority stake in Swiss resort firm linked to Egyptian billionaire Samih Sawiris

by Omokolade Ajayi

Vail Resorts, a U.S. resort company, has agreed to buy a majority stake in Andermatt-Sedrun Sports AG from Andermatt Swiss Alps AG (ASA), as Vail Resorts plans to improve the guest experience at the Swiss-based firm’s mountain resort.

According to the terms of the agreement, Vail Resorts will acquire a 55-percent ownership stake in Andermatt-Sedrun Sports AG, while ASA will retain a 40-percent ownership stake, with the remaining five-percent ownership held by a group of existing shareholders.

Andermatt-Sedrun Sport AG operates all of the resort’s mountain and ski-related assets, including lifts, most of the restaurants, and a ski school operation, through ASA, a Switzerland-based mountain resort company majority-owned by Samih Sawiris, the youngest son of Egyptian construction magnate Onsi Sawiris, who died last year at the age of 91.

Vail Resorts’ acquisition marks the company’s first strategic investment in Switzerland, and it will provide the U.S. firm with the opportunity to operate a ski resort in Europe, while investors in Andermatt-Sedrun Sport AG, such as Sawiris, will take advantage of the opportunity to unlock value from their investment.

Since first investing in the resort in 2007, ASA’s majority shareholder, Sawiris, has invested more than €1.26 billion ($1.4 billion) in the surrounding base area and over €145.5 million ($162 million) in the ski resort, transforming it into one of Switzerland’s leading luxury resorts.

The Chedi Andermatt, a world-class five-star luxury hotel, the Radisson Blu Reussen, luxury condos, studios and apartments, as well as the development of a concert hall, an 18-hole championship golf course, and three Michelin-starred restaurants, are among ASA’s extensive investments in high-end lodging in Europe.

Kirsten Lynch, CEO of Vail Resorts, commented on the acquisition, saying that entering the European ski market has been a long-term strategic priority for Vail Resorts.

She went on to say that the partnership with ASA and investment in the company will help Andermatt-Sedrun continue to grow into one of Europe’s premier alpine destination resorts, with integrated operations in lifts, food, and ski school.

Sawiris, a majority shareholder in ASA and the younger brother of Egypt’s richest man, Nassef Sawiris, is the CEO of Orascom Development, a leading property developer with resorts in Egypt, Montenegro and Switzerland.

His net worth is currently estimated to be more than $1 billion.

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