Advanced Television

Eutelsat “robust” results; buying Bigblu

July 31, 2020

By Chris Forrester

Eutelsat has unveiled its full year financials for the year to June 30th and used the opportunity to announce that it was buying Bigblu Broadband, a major supplier of satellite-based connectivity, for £38 million (€32.39m). Buying Bigblu means that Eutelsat will not have to create its own retail operation for broadband.

CEO Rodolphe Belmer said that the year had been “robust” despite the Covid-19 impact. “Our core Broadcast business remains resilient, as demonstrated by the securing of a number of new contracts in Sub-Saharan Africa, notably with Canal+ Ethiopia.”

“We continue to experience the effects of the global health crisis most notably in the Mobile Connectivity vertical and to a lesser extent in Professional Video. Nevertheless our confidence in the resilience of core Broadcast and improving trends in the other verticals enable us to reinstate financial objectives. As a measure of financial prudence, and as previously announced, we are recommending a 30 per cent reduction in dividend for FY 2019-20. We are committing to a return to our policy of a stable to progressive dividend in respect of FY 2020-21, based on the rebased dividend,” said Belmer.

The financial small print shows that its overall revenues of €1.27 billion were down 2.8 per cent. EBITDA fell back 4.9 per cent and contracted backlog, while still being a significant €4.1 billion was down 6 per cent.

Eutelsat says that its core broadcast revenues were robust with “Underlying sequential top-line broad stability in the fourth quarter” and a new “Multi-year multi-transponder contract with Canal+ Ethiopia on Eutelsat 7C, highlighting the dynamism of the African DTH market and Eutelsat’s unique combination of assets.”

Eutelsat’s divisional revenues were all in negative territory.

Eutelsat verticals:

Broadcast                     €784.6m                        -(0.8%)

Data/Prof Video            €175.3m                        -(12.3%)

Gov’t services               €161.1m                        -(0.2%)

Fixed B’band                 €76.7m                         -(4.6%)

Mobile Connectivity       €78.7m                         -(2%)

As to the purchase of Bigblu, Eutelsat says: “Bigblu Broadband is the largest distributor of satellite broadband packages in Europe with a proven track record, as evidenced by its success as the main Gold member of Euro Broadband Infrastructure’s Preferred Partnership Programme since 2019. Bigblu Broadband has developed a well-established platform for satellite broadband, relying on a unique network of installers and resellers. The activities to be acquired by Eutelsat (BBB Europe) currently count around 50,000 subscribers across an expanding pan-European footprint which includes operations in the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Hungary and Greece.”

Belmer said: “We are delighted to integrate the activities of BBBEurope which will greatly enhance our European broadband distribution network as we progressively bring into service next-generation capacity in the form of Eutelsat Konnect and Konnect VHTS, capable of bringing fibre-like high speed Internet connection to the many areas in Europe that remain unserved or under-served by terrestrial infrastructure. This deal represents an important step in our broader Broadband strategy.”

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