Astra and Eutelsat report strong growth

Europe’s two giant satellite operators, SES Astra and Eutelsat, have both turned in blisteringly good results. SES’ results (for the year to December 31st) declared revenues up 7.1 per cent to €1.735 billion, and with record operating profits, up 10.8 per cent, to €797 million.

Luxembourg’s SES’ President Romain Bausch said that a net 76 new transponders were added to the fleet during the past year, and four new craft brought into operation (NSS-12, Astra 3B and SES-1 and SES-7. New satellites have been ordered (SES-6 from Astrium). Press reports suggest that SES have plans to launch five new satellites focussing on Africa by 2014-2015, out of a portfolio of 13 new satellites being built either for replacement of existing craft or to develop new markets.

In 2011 SES will add more new satellites: YahSat 1A over the Mid-East, QuetzSat-1 for Latin America, SES-4 and SES-5.

Paris-based Eutelsat also declared “robust” revenue growth across all its business sectors (in the half-year to December 31st) with 6-month revenues up an impressive 13.3 per cent to €575.9 million, and EBITDA earnings up 12.5 per cent to €463m, an EBITDA margin of 83 per cent.

Michel de Rosen, Eutelsat’s CEO, spoke enthusiastically about the quality of Eutelsat’s business model. “These results reflect, in particular, the exceptional attractiveness of our portfolio of orbital positions and our capacity to rapidly lease the resources that were deployed in 2009 and 2010. As a result, we are confident in achieving the financial targets published in July 2010, despite the non-availability of the W3B satellite. Each of our business lines has strong growth prospects, driven by the expansion of digital video, professional data networks and Internet communications across all the markets we serve.” He concluded by stating, “With the upcoming entry into service of KA-SAT, the launches later this year of W3C and Atlantic Bird 7 and four additional satellites to launch by mid-2013, Eutelsat is well positioned to deliver sustainable and profitable growth.”

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