Record order book at SES, new CFO

Satellite operator SES is reporting a set of excellent numbers for the year to December 31st. Top of the list is that their contract backlog (the amount of guaranteed business) of €7.5 billion is the highest ever, and up €500 million on the same period last year.

Just about all the operator’s other key metrics are in positive territory, with revenues up 5.5 per cent to €1.828 billion, and a near-matching rise in EBITDA of 5.6 per cent to €1.346 billion.

“2012 was a highly successful year for SES,” said CEO Romain Bausch.  “As German analogue broadcasting was finally switched off, taking €108 million out of our revenue, our strong sales pipeline not only overcame this challenge, but delivered absolute top line growth. Revenue and EBITDA growth in 2012 was in line with guidance although impacted by the SES-5 launch delay and reduction of capacity on AMC-16, which in total represented €13 million of lost revenue.”

“New capacity launched in 2012 will fuel growth in 2013 and 2014, as momentum is maintained in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Having successfully launched three satellites in 2012, we will be launching another four spacecraft in 2013, which will add over 100 new transponders to support our growth, especially in the developing markets. The group’s 3 year revenue and EBITDA CAGR guidance of 4.5 per cent is reiterated. We also look forward to two launches, with a subsequent entry into service, of the O3b Networks constellation, an exciting initiative which we expect to deliver substantial value in the years to come,” added Bausch.

He also referred to O3b (the “Other Three Billion”), which is SES’ entry into a new near-global suite of satellites that will be serving the ‘other 3 billion’ of the world’s population which has poor or no access to broadband-type services. The first batch of O3b satellites launch later this Spring and Summer, with business launching later in the year. SES currently owns 47 per cent of this venture, but that ownership stake is likely to increase.

SES’ CFO Andrew Browne, is to leave the company and move across to O3b, which is headquartered at The Hague. Padraig McCarthy, who has been Browne’s deputy, will assume the role in April.

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