German analogue switch-off dents growing SES profit

Editor | 18-05-2013

The impact of the German analogue switch-off at the end of April 2012 has rippled through to the latest quarterly results from leading satellite operator SES.

For the three months ended 31 March 2013, SES posted revenues of €440.8 million, down 2.1% year-on-year, driving EBITDA of €321.2 million, a near 5% slip.
Yet excluding the expected German analogue revenues, SES revealed that taking into consideration steady foreign exchange rates, revenue would have grown by 5.7% and EBITDA by 5.5%. Infrastructure EBITDA margin was stable at 83.7% despite what was happening in Germany.
Over the quarter, the company increased satellite capacity by 12 transponders (ASTRA 2F) compared with Q1 2012, but utilisation decreased by 20 transponders, with the end of analogue transmissions in Germany and of certain cable contracts being partially offset by new contracts. The overall utilisation rate in Europe stood at 80.6%. Transponder pricing remained stable. Services revenue continued to increase, with a strong contribution from HD+.
After recognising the German analogue switch-off, SES President and CEO Romain Bausch, said that SES was in a good shape going forward: “New capacity contracts and a good performance from HD+ made a solid contribution to revenue and EBITDA …The Q1 results support the reiteration of our 2013 revenue and EBITDA growth guidance of 4-5%. SES continues to focus on commercialising the new capacity that was launched during 2012 and on preparing the successful entry into service of the four satellites scheduled for launch in 2013.”
SES added that revenue development during 2013 will be weighted to the second half of the year, the timing and magnitude of which will be subject to the eventual launch dates of the satellites delivering new capacity, and to fleet health status. Excluding the analogue impact, revenue growth is expected to be in the range of 6.5-7.5%, with EBITDA expected to grow by 7-8%.