Sold: Company where 155 died

Electricity provider Verbund has sold its share in the Gletscherbahn Kaprun that was responsible for the worst winter sports tragedy in Austrian history when 155 people died.

The Gletscherbahn Kaprun disaster was a fire that occurred in an ascending railway car in the tunnel of the Gletscherbahn 2 railway on 11 November 2000.

The disaster claimed the lives of 92 Austrians, 37 Germans, 10 Japanese, eight Americans, four Slovenians, two Dutch, one Czech and one British national, leaving just 12 survivors. The victims were skiers on their way to the Kitzsteinhorn Glacier.

The sale was agreed this month and Verbund director Wolfgang Anzengruber said: “Managing a ski resort is not part of the job of an electricity company.”

Verbund has sold off its 45 per cent of Gletscherbahn Kaprun to a consortium led by the local council in Kaprun.

Verbund had put the sale price of 18 million Euros but in the end although no official figure was given is believed that the stock changed hands for 16 million.

The rest of the company was already owned by the local council. The company employs 160 people and the Kaprun based consortium now holds over 90 per cent of its own ski area.

The only other interested bidder was based in Tyrol but in the end they gave way to the Kaprun based consortium.

Kaprun mayor Norbert Karlsböck (SPÖ) said that the sale was a great day for Kaprun  and for the region. He said that a 15 year age of co-operation had come to an end – but at the same time an era of self-sufficiency had dawned.