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There were two distinct stories in satellite operator SES’s first-half results (to June 30). All of its key metrics were in very positive territory, but currency fluctuations took their toll. For example, overall revenues were up from €910.5 million to €938.9 million, a 3.1 per cent improvement. But had there been constant exchange rates, the growth would have been expressed as a 6.3 per cent improvement which looks much better for investors. The challenge for SES is that much of its business is done in US dollars, but it reports in Euros, hence the differences and stressing of the ‘Constant FX’ expression in its results.
SES’s operating profit rose to €437.5 million (up 9.4 per cent at ‘Constant FX’). Its all-important contract backlog stands at €7.2 million.
“SES’s continuing successful development and execution of the 2014 plan has delivered robust first half results that validate our strategy to address target regions and market verticals. Video remains core to our business. Europe and the International segments posted strong growth, while the North American segment continued to be affected by the US Government budget sequester. The 2014 financial guidance is reiterated,” said CEO Karim Michel Sabbagh.
He added “Three satellites were brought into service in the period, further developing our capabilities in Europe, MENA and Asia-Pacific. Four more satellites are under construction, including the newly announced SES-12, a hybrid satellite for the Asia-Pacific region, which will benefit from the dual innovations of an HTS payload and all-electric propulsion. These programmes, all components of our medium term CapEx plan, will enhance our differentiated positioning in the developing markets that we are targeting.”
SES revealed that AMC-5 was de-orbited in May 2014 having reached the end of its operational life.
Available transponder capacity increased by 6.5 per cent compared to 30 June 2013, from 1,436 to 1,530, while net utilised capacity rose by 2.4 per cent, from 1,084 to 1,110 transponders. At 30 June 2014, the group satellite fleet had a utilisation rate of 72.5 per cent.
The company also said that the ongoing delays associated with the Proton launch rocket meant that the launch of Astra 2G had now slipped to Q4.