Advanced Television

Blistering Eutelsat ups its numbers

May 11, 2011

By Chris Forrester

We are in the middle of the 3Q reporting season for the satellite industry. May 10 saw both Intelsat (see separate story) and Eutelsat unveil their numbers. Tomorrow, May 12, will see SES declare their figures, but Intelsat and SES will have to pull some magical rabbits out of the bag to exceed Eutelsat’s staggeringly good trading results.

Eutelsat impressed the market with an impressive set of 3Q numbers, and formally raised its guidance and in so doing told everyone it would exceed this year’s trading targets. Revenues rose 10 per cent, and the satellite operator says it now expects its full year numbers to exceed €1.16 billion ($1.62bn).  “Demand remains strong,” said CEO Michel de Rosen.

Indeed, de Rosen was able to show that revenues grew (compared to the same period last year) in all segments of Eutelsat’s business, with double-digit growth in its Data, Value-Added and quite spectacular expansion from its Multi-usage segment. 3Q numbers were up 10 per cent to €295.2 million, and 9-month revenues to March 31st rose by 12.2 per cent to €871 million.  3Q video revenues rose from €189.6 million last year to €198.5 million.

De Rosen said: “We are delighted to report third quarter revenue growth of ten per cent. This growth was driven by further strong momentum in all our markets; an exceptionally strong contribution from our Multi-usage activity as demand from government agencies was high; and by the continued optimisation of our in-orbit resources, with the fill rate standing at above ninety per cent since 31st December 2010. We are raising our objective for the full year and now expect to deliver revenues of over €1,160 million. Looking ahead, demand remains strong in all of our regions and our significant fleet expansion plan in the coming years will ensure that we are well-positioned to capture this growth.”

Investment bankers Morgan Stanley, in a note to investors, said they remain upbeat on Eutelsat (and the satellite sector in general), saying: “The fixed satellite service industry presents numerous advantages in an uncertain market environment. Demand for transponder capacity is poised to grow over the next three years, driven by (i) the accelerating take-up of HD / 3D in mature markets (ii) the proliferation of digital channels in emerging markets, and (iii) demand from government services.”

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