"20minutes.fr" wrote:Trivia - The causes of the accident are still unknown ...
An employee of a subcontracting company responsible for cleaning at Disneyland, seriously injured Wednesday morning while working on an amusement park entertainment, died in the afternoon, it was learned Wednesday.
This employee subcontractor has "died Wednesday afternoon" in a Paris hospital of his injuries, a police source said, confirming a report in Le Parisien's website. Contacted by 20minutes.fr, the amusement park confirmed this, saying he was an employee of a subcontracting company responsible for cleaning.
"Getting stuck under a boat in the water"
Around 5:30, the man who worked on the attraction "It's a small world" would "fall into the water and got stuck under a boat in the water" before being rescued, police said. The causes and exact circumstances of the accident was unknown late Wednesday afternoon, according to police sources.
The attraction was closed Wednesday "for the proper conduct of the investigation," said the leadership. Curated by Chessy (Seine-et-Marne) is handling the case.
Around 5 am, he worked with a colleague in the maintenance of boats expected to arrive to him one after another. While handling a boat, a second boat would arrive too early, for reasons still unknown. The officer fell overboard and was crushed by the boat, which weighs a ton. He immediately lost consciousness, according to Park management. Transported in a very serious condition in hospital Georges Pompidou in Paris (XV), he died around 15 hours.
The victim, a man of 53, worked for the company and Stes Sin, a provider of Disneyland Park. He was fatally injured in circumstances still unclear, about 5 h 30, while cleaning a boat on the ride It's a Small World.
Found unconscious, wedged under a boat at the entrance of the little river usually used by visitors, the employee may have been crushed and held underwater by the boat that weighs 1 cup First revived by the rescue, he was then transported to the Georges Pompidou hospital in Paris, where he died at 15 hours as a result of his injuries.
A spokesman of the management of Euro Disney confirmed the accident, adding that "his circumstances, yet unknown, will be determined by the police investigation." The latter was entrusted to the police station in Chester, who auditioned again witness yesterday afternoon in an attempt to clarify the causes of this tragedy. Several people were present during the accident, including a colleague of the victim who oversaw the arrival of vessels to clean, and three employees of the maintenance services of Euro Disney. An autopsy was requested.
Patrick Maldidier, the UNSA union, discusses what may be a technical fault. "It appears that the employee was cleaning up a first when a second boat came from behind. According to the union representative, the second boat "should never have been there." Still, this scenario is not only considered by the investigators. According to a source within the firm, interviewed witnesses have given conflicting versions of events to police. Anyway, a simple drowning seems unlikely given the shallowness of the channel, which does not exceed a few tens of centimeters.
In this climate of uncertainty, the attraction has remained closed all day yesterday and will remain so until further notice, for purposes of police investigation. Within the company, UNSA union has called for an extraordinary meeting of the CHSCT (health, safety and working conditions comitee) theme parks, in an attempt to shed light on the circumstances of this fatal accident.
Losing the magic: How Euro Disney became a nightmare
With a €1.8bn debt mountain to climb, Euro Disney needs more than a sprinkling of pixie dust to bring a sparkle to its finances.
Strikes, suicides and shareholder losses are not usually associated with a Disney blockbuster, but for the past year, they have been the key elements of the script at the company's two theme parks in Paris.
On Wednesday, Euro Disney, the Euronext-listed company which runs six hotels and a 27-hole golf course as well as the theme parks, posted a €45m (£38m) net loss for the year ending 30 September 2010. It was worse than had been expected by analysts but an €18m improvement on 2009. Given the tumultuous year that the company has faced, it can be very thankful for this small mercy.
For a place that proclaims to be a temple to fairy tales, Euro Disney has had its fair share of bad luck in the past 12 months. The black clouds began to gather just one month into its financial year. On 23 December 2009, one of the busiest days of the year for the resort, its staff, known as cast members because of the role they play on a themed set, went on strike through the parks. It was the first time this had ever happened in Euro Disney's 18-year history and it was an unforgettable performance.
Cast members waving flags and placards stormed the cinema-themed Studios Park, leading to the cancellation of its daily parade of Disney characters. The same scenes were repeated later in the day in the neighbouring fairy-tale-inspired Disneyland Park and as its parade was cancelled, the huge crowd of holidaymakers booed and hissed. The entire episode was caught on several guests' camcorders and the footage was soon posted on YouTube.
The frosty atmosphere continued to hang over the resort long after the strikes had finished. Since then, two Euro Disney employees have committed suicide. One was a chef who wrote on a suicide note that he did "not want to return to working for Mickey" and his relatives claimed he was depressed by staff cuts and a policy switch away from freshly made food to frozen produce. The other employee was also a cook, who killed himself after what a trade union insists was "humiliating" conditions at work. The company denies the suicides were work related.
According to one of the unions, the number of jobs in Euro Disney's restaurants and hotels has been slashed and fewer seasonal workers are being hired, which has led to staff working longer hours.
Despite measures such as the pay freeze, Euro Disney failed to keep its costs under control in 2010 and they rose by 3.1 per cent to €1.2bn. Making matters worse, its attendance fell 3 per cent to 15 million. However, revenue increased by 3.7 per cent, largely due to a €47m windfall which the company got in June from selling a shopping mall on its property. This left it with a €34.1m operating profit, but the story doesn't stop there.
Debt is the real villain that Euro Disney is up against as the company still needs to pay back €1.8bn of the loans it took out in the 1990s to fund its construction. Annual repayments weigh down its bottom line and paying €79m in financial charges in 2010 pushed Euro Disney into loss.
It has made a net profit only once in the past five years and, in an attempt to stem the red ink, the company's chief executive, Philippe Gas, announced last month that he had set a target of paying back 25 per cent of its debt by 2013. This would mean making repayments of around €150m over each of the next three years but Euro Disney's latest results revealed that it will pay back only €123.4m in 2011.
As a result of missing performance objectives in 2010, Euro Disney said that for the second year running, it would have to delay subordinated debt repayments of €45m, including €15m of interest due to its biggest lender, the state-controlled Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations. Euro Disney's shares fell 2 per cent to €4.40 on the news and recovery doesn't seem to be in sight.
Earlier this year, Olivier Becker, an analyst from Oddo Securities, which manages Euro Disney's liquidity account, forecast that "even if attendance is increasing in 2011 and the results are better, I think they will be farther from these targets than they were five or six years ago". He added that "the covenants are based on Ebitda targets and they did not take into account any financial crisis".
Euro Disney has been blighted with bad luck since its gates opened in 1992 as a recession loomed and it soon teetered close to bankruptcy. Its gates were kept open by the debt being restructured twice and a bailout from real-life white knight Saudi investor Prince Alwaleed, who injected €263m into the company in 1993.
However, in fairy-tale land lightning can strike twice, and in March 2002, Euro Disney opened the Studios Park, just as the post-11 September tourism downturn began to bite. This time, its saviour came in the form of a €250m rights issue in 2005 with Alwaleed again riding to the rescue by personally putting in €25m. It left 10 per cent of Euro Disney's shares in his hands, with 50.2 per cent floated on the Paris Euronext and the remainder held by the Walt Disney Company.
Becker believes that the Studios Park has been a poisoned chalice. "If you look at the sales in 2001 and 2007, the sales are flat and the park was a €1bn capex so it has not increased the sales enough. This is the number one problem of Disney. They opened this second park but it has not multiplied the sales as it should have. They just need to make €1.5bn of sales to solve the problem."
Euro Disney has raised room rates, and it paid off as its hotel revenues rose 1.2 per cent to €480.2m in 2010. Average spending per room increased by 4 per cent on 2009, which Euro Disney also put down to higher daily room rates. The same strategy didn't work with entrance tickets as theme park revenues slumped 0.4 per cent to €685.3m as attendance fell. A two-day entrance ticket to Euro Disney costs £101, compared with £37.60 at Staffordshire's Alton Towers, the UK's most-visited theme park.
One Paris-based analyst says that "the big problem stopping them making a profit is the debt. If it was not of that size they wouldn't have any problem and they would be very profitable... I don't know if Euro Disney will ever make a profit. Its use is for the Walt Disney Company to get promotion and attendance in Europe."
Euro Disney has long hankered after a third park to increase visitor numbers. Its original agreement with the French government allowed it to build a third park by 2017 but in September this year, it extended this time frame until 2030.
The analyst says that Euro Disney needs to increase its hotel capacity before building a third park: "They need more hotels. They don't have enough to have a third park. They can do it before 2030 but I don't think they will do." A happy ending still seems far, far away.
Euro Disney and Pierre & Vacances unveil Villages Nature, a new, sustainable resort concept
Paris, November 24 , 2010 – Euro Disney S.C.A. Group (“Euro Disney”) and Groupe Pierre & Vacances Center Parcs (“Pierre & Vacances”) are unveiling today their new concept of a vacation destination based on the search for harmony between man and nature. The destination would be, in its design and in its operations, a unique model of sustainable development for tourism at this scale: Les Villages Nature de Val d’Europe (« Villages Nature »).
A message of harmony between Man and Nature
Harmony between Man and Nature is central to the Villages Nature concept. As a mixed‐use resort, Villages Nature will work with visionary landscape architects to develop new lodging and leisure experiences that will provide multiple opportunities for visitors to interact with nature. These activities would be centered on gardening, boating, hiking, horseback riding, visiting an organic farm, walking along discovery paths, and enjoying seasonal festivals and culinary events. The entire resort will be developed around its iconic 3,500m² geothermal lagoon, and the adjacent water park which will be the largest in Europe.
The Villages Nature site is located 6 Km south of Disneyland Paris, north of the Brie Forest (in French: Brie Boisée), in Seine-et‐Marne. This project, which could span up to 500 hectares and be developed over a 20‐year timeframe, will be launched depending on market conditions. The first phase would be comprised of 175 hectares and could open in 2015.
Complementary expertise on a shared project
Euro Disney and Pierre & Vacances have studied together the Villages Nature project. The two Groups have common values and complementary expertise, which serve as the foundation of their partnership.
Villages Nature is a resort concept designed to appeal to European consumers, offering them a unique experience based on connecting with nature. As a short and medium‐break vacation destination, Villages Nature will provide a relaxing and immersive experience in the heart of nature – with 90% of the resort retained as green space. The destination will offer a number of recreational and learning activities that will inspire future generations to value conservation.
For this project, the partners have created a 50/50 joint‐venture, with Companies’ respective CEOs, Gérard Brémond and Philippe Gas, acting as co‐Chairmen of the managing entity, and Dominique Cocquet as General Manager.
A commitment to sustainable development
To develop a Sustainable Action Plan and position Villages Nature as a reference of eco‐tourism in Europe, the partners have been inspired by the "One Planet Living" methodology ([url=http://www.oneplanetliving.org" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;]http://www.oneplanetliving.org[/url]) developed by BioRegional and WWF International .
The Sustainable Action Plan relies on the following 10 key, measurable targets aimed at reducing as much as possible the destination’s ecological footprint, ensuring social responsibility, and developing synergies with the local communities:
‐ Zero carbon
‐ Zero waste
‐ Sustainable transportation
‐ Local and sustainable materials
‐ Local and sustainable food products
‐ Sustainable water
‐ Natural habitats and wild life
‐ Culture and heritage
‐ Local partnerships and fair trade
‐ Quality of life and well‐being
The two Companies partner with experts to meet the Sustainable Action Plan and implement relevant solutions. For example, the destination’s overall heating needs will be provided by a deep geothermal source. Emanating from 1,800 meters under the project site, the 78°C water will be used for heating before it is recycled back into the water table, producing no greenhouse gas emissions.
An opportunity for institutional and individual investors
The first phase of Villages Nature would include the construction of 1,730 apartments or cottages, and measuring between 32 m² and 85 m², located within three villages: two villages around the lake and one village in the forest. Indoor and outdoor leisure facilities are also planned, for a total 70,000 m² area.
Based on the 40‐year proven real estate development model of Pierre & Vacances, the apartments and cottages would be sold to individual investors as tourism residences (in French : Résidences de Tourisme) while facilities would be sold to institutional investors. The housing units and facilities will be leased and managed by the Villages Nature operating company.
An economic project committed to its region
During various study phases of the project there has been an active dialogue with local stakeholders. Public officials from the local area presented their concerns, and many of their expectations have been considered in the project scope. Both the Seine‐et‐Marne General Council and the Ile‐de‐France Regional Council have voted their support to the project. In the months and years ahead, additional information will be shared and active dialogue will continue with surrounding communities to ensure the project remains well integrated into the community.
Villages Nature will aim to be a strong economic and social contributor to the region. When completed and fully operational, the first phase is expected to generate approximately €7 million in local taxes per year, and create 4,500 jobs, 1,600 of which will be direct. We will proactively work with local, public employment agencies to promote job opportunities for residents, and will reach out to local stakeholders for sourcing and synergies.