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AsiaSat admits pricing pressures

Last week, Hong Kong-based AsiaSat unveiled lower revenues (down 4 per cent) for 2015 and said it expected more headwinds for 2016 as pricing pressures from competitors force down transponder and bandwidth rental prices.

AsiaSat’s chairman, Ju Wei Min, in a statement, warned shareholders that the satellite operator was being squeezed and non-renewals of contracts by several customers was not helping.

Its 2015 profit attributable to equity holders of HK$440 million, compared to HK$559 million in 2014. The decline was due to lower revenue, increased interest expense and the lack of the finance income generated in the prior year, said the company.

During the year, private equity fund The Carlyle Group replaced General Electric as one of AsiaSat’s major shareholders.

Ju Wei Min, said, “The year ahead will be a very challenging one for AsiaSat and the satellite industry as a whole. Competition in our markets will continue to intensify, particularly from some of the global operators seeking new business as their key markets mature. In the meantime, other regional operators are actively looking for opportunities to expand in Asian markets as well.”

There were some optimistic comments, not least the addition of AsiaSat’s first UHD channel (in October 2015) and the company promised more action in this area.

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