Advanced Television

SES: ‘Roll on 2014’

February 21, 2014

By Chris Forrester

Let’s be clear. SES CEO Romain Bausch didn’t say “roll on 2015” as he delivered the satellite operator’s 2013 end of year numbers. But 2014 should see fewer satellite delays, a reinforced position in fast-developing markets, a new income stream from its O3b data and broadband constellation, and recent investment that starts to pay back. 2014 will also see Bausch step down after some 19 years as CEO (although he stays on the Board).

SES’s hard numbers showed actual revenues of €1.862 billion which can be expressed in a number of ways: (1) an improvement of 3.4 per cent at constant foreign exchange rates, or (2) 5.9 per cent when excluding the old analogue revenues from Germany, worth €42.6 million last year, or (3) 1.9 per cent in actual revenues. SES operating profit rose 7.7 per cent to €851.2 million over 2012.

There was more good news in that SES’ contracted backlog stood at €7.5 billion, an all-time high for the company.

Taking a snapshot of its Q4 period, and the numbers showed that revenues were up 6.3 per cent, EBITDA rose by 8.9 per cent, and operating profit grew by an impressive 38.4 per cent.

SES’s active transponders grew by 3.6 per cent, while the group’s all-important fill rate was stable at 74 per cent. The number of channels on air topped 6,200, some of which are the growing number of HD+ channels available to German-speaking viewers. “HD+ continued to develop strongly, with the line-up increasing to 16 HD channels following the addition of Disney HD to the platform. The number of paying customers passed 1.4 million at the end of 2013, a 49 per cent increase over the 2012 year-end number, while a further 1.3 million households are in the initial 12-month free reception period, securing future growth. In 2014, further development of the platform is foreseen, with three new channels expected to begin transmissions in April. In May 2014, HD+ will introduce an increase in the technical access fee to €60 per annum, reflecting the increased breadth of programming now available on the platform,” said SES.

For 2014 SES expects revenues and EBITDA to grow at 6 per cent-7 per cent (at constant exchange rates).

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