Paris-based satellite operator Eutelsat, despite a 2.2 per cent (like for like) fall in revenues for the year (from €1.529 billion last year to €1.477 billion) and a 2.7 per cent fall in EBITDA profitability, turned in a significant €160.5 million improvement in free cashflow (from €247 million to €408 million) in the year to June 31st.
Rodolphe Belmer, CEO of Eutelsat Communications, said: “During the past year, we have delivered or over-delivered on all our financial commitments. In particular, our strong performance on free cash flow generation has enabled us to reduce net debt to below 3.3x EBITDA, and to recommend a strong, 10% rise in dividend. Our performance was supported by solid commercial momentum in our core video business and in other verticals – particularly mobile connectivity, as well as the strengthening of our financial profile. In consequence, we are on track to achieve top-line stability in FY 2017-18, with a return to slight growth thereafter.”
Eutelsat’s all-important Video segment saw accelerating take-up of HD services on its Hot Bird fleet, with “Significant contract renewals in Europe and in MENA with Arqiva at 28° East, and Digiturk at 7° East”. However, the Broadcast segment also saw revenues fall back 2.2 percent, largely down to the rationalisation of capacity and the ending of its contract with TV d’Orange.
Eutelsat’s overall fill-rate for its fleet stood at 67.9 per cent (down from 70.9 per cent in the previous year). Eutelsat’s transponder count is up, from 1328 to 1372.
The operator’s contract backlog is also down 8 per cent, at €5.2 billion (from €5.6 billion).
Belmer told analysts that the company’s dividend to shareholders would rise by 10 per cent to €1.21 per share.