SES: bank upbeat despite transponder glut

The market’s view of SES’ May 12 results remains positive despite the potential inventory of more than 20 unsold transponders currently used to beam analogue channels to German viewers. There are also a few slippages in the upcoming six-satellite additions to the SES fleet this year.

Indeed, investment bankers Morgan Stanley, in a note to investors, point out that the operators “first quarter-year 75% EBITDA margin is the highest number ever recorded by SES”. The bank adds: “Demand for capacity is strong in Germany, suggesting that the 33 transponders still used for analogue should be rapidly rebooked post switch-off (April 2012).”

Their report says they remain upbeat on SES’ prospects. “Demand for transponder capacity is poised to grow over the next three years, driven by (i) the accelerating take-up of HD / 3D in mature markets (ii) the proliferation of digital channels in emerging markets, and (iii) demand from government services.”

SES said that its Astra division is now carrying 211 high-def channels, which is one more than arch-rival Eutelsat.