Eutelsat “significantly upscaling” in LatAm
Eutelsat’s CEO Michel de Rosen told analysts early on February 14th that the closing (on January 1st) of its purchase of the Mexico-based SatMex fleet of satellites would lead to a “significant upscaling” of its business over Latin America. De Rosen said the Mexican deal meant and extra $70 million in revenues this half-year, and that SatMex would grow “at a high single-digit” rate.
The good news for Eutelsat over Latin America helped soften the confusion and loss of income from the (then) disputed 28.5 degrees East orbital position when Eutelsat lost revenue from the position on October 4 last year. That dispute, with SES, has now been resolved. But at the time, it means a loss of operational transponders. As at December 31st, Eutelsat had 855 active transponders, while six months ago it had 859. Eutelsat was carrying 4,807 channels, up 7 per cent at December 31st, but with SatMex in the fleet, the number jumps to more than 5,000, and with 10.6 per cent penetration of HDTV.
De Rosen outlined a list of positive results (half-year to December 31) with revenues up 2.2 per cent at €647 million, and strong profitability (€501m) and margins (77.4 per cent). Indeed, the satellite operator’s position is buoyant enough to raise its dividend to shareholders by 8 per cent to €1.08 per share.
Eutelsat’s contracted backlog stands at €5.3 billion (down €100 million on the June position) but the Satmex acquisition will add another $420 million to that total. Usefully, the average length of contracts runs to 7.1 years.
Y-o-y growth of Eutelsat Ka-Sat craft was impressive, from 62,000 terminals a year ago and 124,000 active terminals at December 31st, helped by concentrated marketing and the spread of countries with active retailers as well as the major European markets. France, Spain, Italy, Turkey, Germany and the UK are the largest Ka-Sat users.