Broadcast and media rays of hope as Intelsat posts Q1 losses

Editor ©RapidTVNews | 09-05-2012

The four satellite launches that it has planned for the second and third quarters of 2012 will be crucial for satellite services provider as it aims to bounce back form a disappointing start to the year.

For the three months ended 31 March 20121, the company reported revenue of $644.2 million and a net loss of $24.4 million. The company also reported earnings before net interest, loss on early extinguishment of debt, taxes and depreciation and amortisation, of $481.2 million and an adjusted EBITDAi of $496.7 million

Yet despite printing in red ink, Intelsat CEO Dave McGlade described the company’s Q1 performance as “steady”, driven by its customers' demand for the mission-critical communications infrastructure.

“Continued enhancement of our network positions Intelsat to serve high-demand applications in regions where growth is strongest,” McGlade revealed. “With contracted backlog of $10.5 billion providing visibility for future revenue and cash flows, we are focused on our 2012 investment program, which involves the launch of four additional satellites, providing incremental capacity to support future customer growth."

Media provided a number of bright spots for the company, accounting for a third of all business revenues, up, 2% yearly, and contributing income of $210 million, itself up over $10 compared with the same quarter in the previous year.

For Q1 2012, Intelsat announced a number of new agreements and customer renewals and expansions that Intelsat claimed reflected the global footprint of its fleet.

Prime among these was the support of DTH platforms and the value of regional media distribution neighbourhoods such as supplied for Discovery Communications who signed a multi-year agreement to expand its use of capacity to serve Latin American countries, including Brazil and Argentina with HD channels both to cable and DTH accounts. Intelsat will transition capacity at 9 at 302 deg East to Intelsat 21 once that satellite enters service later this year.

In addition, Intelsat noted that broadcast-over-satellite provider STN had signed a multi-year agreement for additional capacity on Galaxy 19 located at 97 deg West for DTH services over the US including uplink capability from Intelsat's Mountainside teleport in Maryland. STN provides international programming on Intelsat's free-to-air multicultural DTH community, which offers nearly 250 channels across continental US, the Caribbean, Alaska and Hawaii.

Media also proved a fertile ground for transponder services with an aggregate increase of $12.7 million, primarily due to a $12.5 million increase in revenue from growth in capacity sold to media customers primarily in the Latin America and Caribbean, the Europe and the North America regions.