Editor ©RapidTVNews | 29-07-2011

Recurring revenue growth of 3.0% to €853.2 million with and a 4% increase in operating profit of €402 million were among the highlights of the first half revenues for satellite operator SES in the first half of 2011.

The revenue growth was buttressed by new capacity agreements as well as renewals of existing agreements were signed, supporting the year-on-year recurring revenue growth of 3.0%.

Infrastructure activities recorded continued growth and services activities were said to have performed well, with favourable development of HD+ in Germany in particular.

SES ASTRA satellites now broadcast 220 HD channels over Europe and contract wins also included the first Italian DTH service from 19.2° East with Italian TV operator Promosat. In the UK ITV signed an agreement renewing its existing capacity of six transponders and contracting a further three. The new capacity will support the future development of ITV’s channel offer to the UK and Ireland from 28.2° East.

The number of ASTRA digital satellite homes grew by 4%, or 2.3 million, in 2010. ASTRA’s position in respect of HDTV transmission was enhanced, with 80% of HD-viewing satellite homes receiving their programming via ASTRA.

The Group’s contract backlog, representing secured future revenue, increased to EUR 7.0 billion, driven by renewals and new business signed in the period. By 30 June 2011, SES’s transponder utilisation was 80.7%, or 1,008 of the 1,249 transponders commercially available.

Of the highlights in H1 2011 were the launch of a new SES-3 satellite and SES is confident that the five satellites to be launched in the second will allow it to bring substantial new capacity and support future growth.

Commenting on the results, Romain Bausch, SES President and CEO said: “In the first half, SES has continued to concentrate on the development of our business, in particular in the emerging markets, and on the commercialisation of the new capacity that is to be launched on the 11 satellites in our current investment programme.... The organisational changes that were announced during the period are an additional support to focus on that development and growth."