SES Q1 slips after German DSO

SES, one of the world’s largest commercial satellite operators, suffered a decline in earnings in the first quarter after last year’s switch-off of analogue transmissions to Germany. However the company retained its full-year outlook

SES, which sells transmission capacity to the likes of BSkyB and India’s Dish TV, said core profit (EBITDA) dropped 4.8 per cent to €321.2 million.

SES earned €32 million in the first three months of 2012 from analogue broadcasts to Germany, but these finished at the end of April last year. Broadcasters were already paying for digital transmissions.

Revenue fell in Europe by 6.2 per cent, but rose by 8.2 per cent excluding the effect of the digital switch-off, increased by a modest 0.5 per cent in the US and was 5.4 per cent higher elsewhere.

The company, which broadcasts 5,300 television channels from 52 satellites, retained its forecast that both revenue and core profit would rise by between 4 and 5 per cent this year.

It said revenue growth should be greater in the second half of 2013. The year-on-year comparison from May should be healthier because the impact of the German analogue switch-off would end.

SES is also planning to launch four new satellites, bringing new capacity, from June to September. O3b Networks, in which SES has a 47 per cent interest, would also launch its first four satellites in June and a second batch of four in September.

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