Macroeconomic overview and traffic trends

2009 was a year of exceptional complexity and huge challenges for Autogrill Group.

The financial crisis that started in 2007 caused, in the 2nd half of 2008 and throughout 2009, a contraction of global Gross Domestic Product and international trade without precedent in the world economy since the end of the second world war.

The pervasiveness of the crisis, which sent unemployment to over 8% in OECD countries and over 9% in the United States and the euro 1 area, deeply undermined confidence and dampened consumers’ propensity to buy, in a negative spiral that lasted for months without any sign of a turnaround.

World GDP shrank by more than 6% (on an annual basis) in 4th quarter 2008 and 1st quarter 2009 2. Subsequently, part of the contraction was reabsorbed, mainly due to a recovery in recently industrialized countries but, as a whole, 2009 closed with a contraction in world real GDP of 0.8% 3.

Worst hit by the slowdown were the more industrialized economies, with an overall contraction of 3.2% on an annual basis 4. Within this grouping, it is estimated that the United States saw a contraction of 2.4% in 2009, while the euro area is estimated to have lost 3.9%, the UK 4.8% and Japan 5.3%.

From 2nd half 2008, international trade saw an even more marked contraction than GDP: 2008 having closed with a growth rate that was still positive (thanks exclusively to the resilience of emerging countries), 2009 saw a downturn, of around 12%, for the first time in years of uninterrupted growth in international trade. The recession involved industrialized and emerging countries alike 5.

The recession and downturn in international trade produced a very negative scenario in 2009 for all industries linked to the transport of people and goods even though the average price of oil in 2009 was 36% down on average prices in 2008 6.

The air transport industry suffered in particular, in one of its worst years of all time: world air traffic dropped by 2.6% 7.

Airlines reacted by drastically reducing the number of flights: in the first 11 months of 2009, the main European airlines made cuts in their capacity ranging from 1.6% by Lufthansa to 5.9% by Iberia. The downturn was even worse for US carriers, whose cut backs went from 5.6% by Continental to 7.7% by Delta Air 8.

Motorway traffic fared the recession somewhat better, despite being particularly hard hit in the goods transport segment. In Italy, the Group’s biggest motorway market, traffic was down 1.1% 9 overall, with a contraction of 8.3% 9 in heavy vehicles.

1 Source: OCSE, Economic Outlook no. 86, 19 November 2009
2 Source: IMF, Annual Report 2009, page 17
3 Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook, Update 26 January 2010
4 Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook, Update 26 January 2010
5 Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook, Update 26 January 2010
6 Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook, Update 26 January 2010
7 Source: Airport Council International, February 2010
8 Source: Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, Idem
9 Source: AISCAT, November 2009