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.
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.”