SES cuts 2010 growth guidance, shuffles transponders

SES, the world’s second-largest satellite operator, cut its forecast for 2010 revenue and core profit growth after weaker-than-expected first-quarter results.

SES, which sells transmission capacity to the likes of BSkyB, Canal Plus, Premiere and NBC, said the delay of a satellite launch and the reduction in revenue from another satellite meant it had to cut its 2010 guidance.

It now expected recurring revenue and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) to grow between 4 and 5 per cent this year, compared with a previous forecast of 5 per cent.

SES, in a sector which has generally shown little sign of pain from the economic downturn, said its much-watched core profit (EBITDA) dipped 0.4 per cent to E307.6 million in the first quarter.

The Astra 3B satellite was to have launched at the end of March, but would now only go into orbit towards the end of May. SES said the impact was likely to be E2-3 million, partly due to lost additional business related to the World Cup, which starts on June 11th.

SES said that it was shutting down some of the transponders – which beam data – on another satellite to conserve power, which would cut annual revenue by up to E10 million.

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