Advanced Television

SES backlog at €7.1bn

November 11, 2011

By Chris Forrester

SES reported a healthy set of numbers on November 11 for its nine-months trading to September 30. Perhaps most notable was the all-important contract backlog figure, up nine per cent since the end of 2010. The figure represents the forward orders contracted for transponder space on SES satellites.

Its other numbers were also in positive territory, with revenues up three per cent to €1.28 billion, EBITDA up 3.7 per cent to €965 million. SES reported that its EBITDA margin is 75.2 per cent. Profit for the nine months was up 34.3 per cent to €446.7 million.

“In the third quarter, SES successfully launched four new satellites, an industry record. The launch of Astra 1N, SES-2 and SES-3 delivered replacement capacity, while QuetzSat-1 added new capacity to the fleet wholly contracted by EchoStar for DTH services in the Americas. SES-4 is now scheduled for launch in December, whereas the SES-5 launch will move into 2012,” reported Romain Bausch, CEO at SES. “SES also made progress in developing its Central and Eastern European business, concluding an important strategic partnership with Russian operator Gazprom Space Services (using Astra 1F satellite capacity), and signing a new DTH platform, Magticom, for Georgia.”

At the end of September 2011, the group’s transponder utilisation had risen to 1,012 of the 1,250 commercially available transponders in the fleet, a utilisation rate of 81.0 per cent (compared to 78.7 per cent in 2010).

Bausch confirmed that HD+, its high-definition system for Germany, was making steady progress. “The number of Free-To-Air HD programmes broadcast on the HD+ platform has increased to 12. More than 1.5 million households now receive HD+. While the majority of these households are still in the introductory 12 month free trial phase, the number of paying customers stood at about 250,000 at the end of the quarter, with a conversion rate into paying customers of well over fifty per cent.”

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