Eutelsat: “We would welcome consolidation”

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Eutelsat’s post results presentation and analyst discussion on October 28th was led by the satellite operators’ CFO Sandrine Téran. She told callers that a merger with another operator was “not a problem if the price is right”.

She told analysts that Eutelsat, the world’s third-largest satellite operator, believed it had a solid stand-alone strategy add[ng: “but we would welcome consolidation if it was a good opportunity for Eutelsat and its shareholders. M&A could be a source of substantial capex and opex synergies in our industry.”

There are, however, only a limited number of target businesses in Europe that could be potential merger candidates. Telenor’s satellite division is one. Hispasat in Madrid is another (and Eutelsat has long coveted Hispasat) but the big prize would be arch-rival SES.

Téran told analysts that a merger faced no special political issues other than the Golden Share veto power held by Luxembourg’s government in SES. But Téran stated that she did not see anything in the industry that would be a hurdle other than the usual antitrust examinations.

Either way, it is a problem a new CEO at Eutelsat is going to have to handle, whether it really is the much talked-about merger with another operator, or either accepting or fending off a take-over bid from the likes of Patrick Drahi.

CEO Rodolphe Belmer is leaving Eutelsat in January.


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