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CAIRNGORM: DEAL DONE - James Cove, PlanetSKI Editor
Friday December 14, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

Highlands and Islands Enterprise is to resume control of operations at Cairngorm Mountain with immediate effect.

 

 

 

HIE owns Cairngorm Estate and had leased the resort to operator Cairngorm Mountain Limited (CML), which went into administration at the end of last month.

We reported on it at the time on PlanetSKI

The agency has established a new subsidiary and has now reached agreement with the joint administrators, Blair Milne and Derek Forsyth, partners with Campbell Dallas, to acquire the business and assets of CML.

Staff and other assets will transfer to the new company, which will trade as Cairngorm Mountain (Scotland) Limited.

The new company will honour season tickets purchased for this winter season.

HIE has contracted support from accountancy firm, Scott Moncrieff, to include a business turnaround specialist as interim chief executive to run the firm until the end of March.

HIE said engagement with local business and community groups will continue to be important going forward.

"We are very pleased to have worked with the administrators to achieve a really positive outcome from a highly challenging situation," said the HIE chief executive Charlotte Wright.

"The deal that we've reached will protect jobs and bring stability to the business, which plays an important role in the wider local economy."

"The immediate focus of the new operating company is to ensure the best possible experience for visitors this winter, particularly while the funicular is inactive, and bring some stability for staff and local businesses that rely on Cairngorm. This includes operating the new snowmaking equipment and ski tows, as well as catering and facilities at the base station."

As owner of the Cairngorm Estate HIE was in charge of operations from 2009 until 2014, when CML was appointed as operator for the resort following international procurement.

We reported on it at the time:

The main issue at Cairngorm is the funicular train that is now out of operation for repairs.

It is the main access to the top of the hill and opened on Christmas Eve 2001.

It cost around £20m and carries around 300,000 tourists, skiers and snowboarders every year.

Cairngorm funicularCairngorm funicular

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At 2 kilometres in length, it is the highest mountain railway in the United Kingdom.

The funicular has been closed since Monday 1st October to allow for a detailed assessment of the structure that supports the tracks.

These investigative works are continuing.

It's thought likely that it will remain closed all winter.

"We are pleased to have secured an early sale of the business and assets of CML, " said Blair Milne, joint administrator and business recovery partner with Campbell Dallas.

"The deal ensures continuity of operations and employment at Cairngorm Mountain and we would like to thank all parties for their support as we worked towards securing a going concern sale."

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Local reaction has been swift.

"Great to hear the expected takeover by HIE has actually taken place. In the short term this is the best possible outcome as HIE's deep pockets mean there is a guarantee this winter that ski operations will get up and running ASAP," said local businessman, Rod Frazer, who is a reader and contributor to PlanetSKI.

With his partner, Dianne, he runs a selection of award-winning holidays lets in the Cairngorm National Parkarea, Where Stags Roar.

"In the medium term, the hunt begins to find a new operator to take charge full time. With luck lessons have been learnt and there will be more local involvement in the running of the hill this time around."

"There has been a long steady decline in much needed investment in the hill's infrastructure. Hopefully this is a fresh start and a chance to start rebuilding Cairngorm's physical infrastructure as well as it's reputation as Scotland's prime ski destination."

"Personally I have already had some great ski touring this season on Cairngorm but am champing at the bit to get lift access skiing. Fingers crossed the BBC forecast is accurate and we are about to get dumped on!"

Here at PlanetSKI we will be updating this story with further reaction to the development so do check back.

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

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