Eutelsat blasts through €1bn

Everyone expected Paris-based satellite operator Eutelsat to improve on last year’s revenues of €1.04 billion. Few would have expected growth of 11.5 per cent, well above guidance, and taking revenues to an impressive €1.168 billion. Indeed, Eutelsat is now saying that this current trading year (to June 30 2012) will see revenues above €1.235 billion, and “accelerating” in the subsequent two years with a CAGR of above 7 per cent for the period to 2014.

That’s progress. All of Eutelsat’s other metrics were above market expectations. All-important EBITDA was up 11.9 percent, and represented a 79.3 per cent margin. Shareholders will be rewarded with 0.90 a share, a dividend up 18.4 percent on last year. The results were unveiled late on July 28, and CEO Michel de Rosen will talk to analysts later on July 29.

He will explain the rationale behind the decision to further boost Eutelsat’s investment programme which is being stepped up. They will develop a new orbital slot at 3 degrees East in order to focus on new markets in Africa, the Mid-East, Central Asia and South America. Commercialisation of the spot has already started using an existing satellite, now dubbed Eutelsat 3A, ahead of a major new satellite (Eutelsat 3B) confirmed July 28 which will have 51 transponders comprising C, Ku and Ka-band capacity and multiple steerable beams. Astrium is prime contractor for the new craft.

De Rosen has also recruited a new deputy, Michel Azibert from French transmission company TDF. Eutelsat’s current CEO Jean-Paul Brillaud will stay on for a few months during the transition period and will then join Eutelsat’s main board.

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