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Eutelsat reported Q1 revenues up 6.5 per cent on the previous year, to €314.4 million, helped by impressive video revenue growth of 9.1 per cent. However, two less important profit centres were less buoyant. Its Data & Value Added segment (which is where Ka-Sat is deployed) grew only 2.5 per cent (although up 43.7 per cent in value-added services) and its Multi-Usage segment actually fell 5.8 per cent.
Nevertheless, CEO Michel de Rosen explained that with the former GE-23 craft (now re-named Eutelsat 172A) fully consolidated at the end of September the quarter-year has seen “solid” revenue growth, and the new satellite – which is doing extremely good business – also significantly expands Eutelsat’s Eastern footprint over the Asia-Pacific region. Eutelsat paid $228 million for the satellite.
It also means that Eutelsat was able to confirm its top-line growth guidance to 5 per cent-6 per cent and compound annual growth (to June 2015) to 6 per cent-7 per cent. An additional key market for Eutelsat is the Middle East, where it in effect partners with Nilesat at 7/8 degrees West, and showed a 37 per cent increase in the number of channels carried to 587 (up 157). A new craft (Eutelsat 8 West B) will launch in 2015 to this location, and six other satellites will be added to the fleet between now and 2015.
Eutelsat channel count is also up. As at Sept 30 it was broadcasting a total of 4403 channels, up 11 per cent y-o-y, and with 379 channels in HD (up 239, or 59 per cent). HD penetration for the complete fleet now stands at 8.6 per cent, and growing.
Capacity sales on Ka-Sat are now beginning to bear fruit, said Eutelsat, and they’ll reveal actual progress three months from now. A new management team is in place and traction being achieved from newly-appointed distributors and with success showing through from professional, SME and residential connectivity.
Michel de Rosen commented in a very robust fashion about the disagreement with rivals SES, and their claims over the 28.2/28.5 degrees East orbital position saying that the dispute would have no impact on revenues, suggesting – if nothing else – that Eutelsat will not be giving up what it sees as its rights without a fight.