Eutelsat’s full year results were released late on July 30 showing some extremely solid numbers, including confirmation of an extra satellite order for the operator’s increasingly ‘hot’ orbital spot over the Middle East. But conspicuous by its absence was any detailed explanation on Eutelsat’s Ka-Sat and its TooWay ‘broadband by satellite’ service. Eutelsat says its TooWay service has 52,450 subscribers, but TooWay has been around for years although Eutelsat stated that take-up of TooWay had “accelerated” during the second half of its year (therefore in the January-June period).
This lack of firm data on Ka-Sat could be a worry for the market given the importance – and costs – associated with Ka-Sat and its impact on future revenues. Eutelsat admitted: “The rollout of professional Value Added Services on Ka-Sat has however been slower than anticipated. The Group is implementing measures to strengthen the commercial organisation around Ka-Sat services, including refining products and distribution channel management. The performance of Tooway was notably increased, to deliver higher speeds and volumes.”
Eutelsat’s core numbers are all solidly up. Overall revenues were up 4.6 per cent to €1.222 billion. Video-based applications were up 5.8 per cent. Its EBITDA margin was 78.3 per cent, one of the highest in the industry. Eutelsat also said that its order backlog, a good indicator of contract length, stood at more than €5 billion.
The channel count on Eutelsat’s satellites reflect continued growth, standing at 4,261 at June 30, 2012, up from 3,880 a year earlier (+381 new channels or 10 per cent growth). The number of High Definition channels also increased, reaching 346 at 30 June 2012, up 57 per cent from 220 a year earlier. HDTV now represents 8.1 per cent of total channels broadcast from Eutelsat’s fleet, against 5.7 per cent a year earlier.
The new satellite to be ordered will go to the 8 degrees West slot (as Eutelsat 8 West B).