SES falls short
Written by Chris Forrester
Sunday, 25 April 2010 06:43

Luxembourg-based satellite operator SES revealed its Q1 numbers last Friday, and they disappointed the market a little.

Problems were twofold. Revenues were respectable enough at 423.4m, more or less flat on last year (423.9m) and less than the market expected. But perhaps more troubling is that revenue guidance for the current year has also been trimmed back a tad.

Then, as if to pile on the agony, SES said that power loss on one of its Lockheed Martin A2100 satellites (AMC-16) is getting worse, and power savings made. Other A2100 craft in its fleet are also affected. The problem has cost SES some US$10m. The market has been aware of the problem for more than a year but had hoped the power problems had stabilised. The launch of SES-1 this past weekend will help ameliorate the problem. However, the continuing launch delay for Astra 3B means that anticipated FIFA World Cup income will be impacted (3m lost in revenues).

CEO Romain Bausch also confirmed what had been well trailed for some months, that SES was looking to dispose of its ND Satcom ground-equipment division.

Bausch added: "These results for the first quarter of the year are in line with our expectations and represent a solid base for the progress we expect to deliver during the rest of the year. Recent commercial agreements announced after the end of the quarter underline the growth potential in the markets we serve. The addition of new capacity from forthcoming launches, including ASTRA 3B, and the integration of the Protostar-2 satellite into the SES fleet will contribute to our growth. However, due to the delay to the launch of the ASTRA 3B satellite, and the reduction of revenue from AMC-16, we consider it prudent to slightly adjust the guidance that was published in February.