Advanced Television

Belgium Satellite Services in liquidation

November 17, 2016

By Chris Forrester

Belgium court filings show that Belgium Satellite Services (BSS) a company based in Belgium but until recently trading on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange is now in bankruptcy. Until recently the company was supplying uplink and transmission services to Eutelsat’s ‘Hotbird’ and ‘Eurobird’ satellites.

BSS was formed in 2007 to acquire Belgacom’s Satellite Services division and has traded with Asiasat, Telesat, SES, ASC Signal and iDirect Broadband. One of their problems was a wide portfolio of ‘bad’ debt, and on-going legal actions.

The assets of the company, such as they are, are being auctioned in an ‘online’ event taking place on November 21st (viewing on November 18th) by Appelboom SA, auctioneers, and acting on the instructions of the Receiver.

The lots on offer include satellite and broadcast equipment by Miteq, Tandberg, Peak, Newtec, Vertex, Agilent, DataMiner, NEC, Socomec-Sicon, Thomson, Xicom and others including uplink dishes and other satellite technology.

BSS raised around €3.5 million in a public offering in May 2015, despite having struggled to make any sort of trading profit in the immediate years prior to the float. The company was also heavily indebted. The company’s Prospectus claimed expected annual revenues for the 2015-16 trading period of a somewhat vague “€20-30 million”. Prior to the float it was closely linked to ORG Telecom, a business trading in India, and Intersat FZE, based in the Dubai Free Zone.

However, in its somewhat brief statement of accounts, BSS showed that unaudited revenues had been on a downward track for some years, from €20.08 million in the trading year to March 2011, then €18.3 million in 2012, €15.99 million in 2013, and €12.8 million in the year to March 2014. The Prospectus stated bluntly: “Based on the Company’s expectations for the following financial years, the Company does not expect to reach breakeven before 31 March 2016.”

Bondholders (prior to the May 2015 float) were GLG Market Neutral Fund (25 per cent), JP Morgan Securities (12.5 per cent), HBK Master Fun (31.25 per cent) and the Bank of New York Mellon which held 31.25 per cent of the company’s bonds.

The company’s 3 active directors were each resident in India, and 2 “senior managers” (CEO and VP/Corporate Affairs) who were also resident in India. Salaries for 3 of these 5 individuals were not less than $100,000 and one was paid €186,000 per annum. The company employed 13 people “most of which were expatriates” according to the Prospectus.

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