HD success sees SES flying steadily upwards in 2014

DetailsJoseph O'Halloran | 21 February 2015

Days after revealing unveiling its ambitious plans to take leadership in 4K/Ultra HD, SES has posted a solid set of financial results for fiscal 2014.

SES UHDStandouts for year ended 31 December 2014 were revenue of 1.919.1 billion, up 4.0% at constant FX over the prior year driving EBITDA of 1.428.0 million, up 5.0% at constant FX over the prior year. EBITDA margin improved to 74.4% from 73.7% at constant FX.

The company says that the results show that the company is now executing on its strategic principles and positioning for long-term growth. Indeed infrastructure revenue increased by 3.8%, with 12.2% growth in pull-through from services, while there was also a 5.1% increase in HDTV channels over SES satellites, commensurate with revenue growth. As of 31 December 2014, the SES group had a contract backlog of 7.3 billion representing approximately four times 2014 group revenue.

Video broadcasting was a key part of a core part of SES's business during 2014 with the total number of TV channels broadcast via its satellite fleet increasing 4.7% to 6,529, which represents 17% of the world's total satellite TV channels. This includes an increase of 5.1% in HDTV channels from 1,793 to 1,885 broadcast by SES, representing a quarter of the total market. The revenue performance also reflected a number of video contracts signed throughout the year in which customers retained or increased capacity on SES satellites. In November 2014, satellite TV provider M7 Group extended and increased its requirement for capacity at 23.5 degrees East while Austrian public broadcaster ORF contracted an additional transponder at 19.2 degrees East for the expansion of its HD offering.

"SES delivered another year of strong revenue and EBITDA growth in 2014," commented SES www.ses.com President and CEO Karim Michel Sabbagh. "This reflects a series of successes in key market verticals and geographies in securing new business, as well as further serving our long-standing customers...We have expanded our core video business by developing new neighbourhoods, securing new contracts and increasing channel count. Our investments in innovative solutions that bring together linear and non-linear broadcasting are also paving the way for the introduction of Ultra HD TV."

Looking forward, SES predicted that consumer demand for greater viewing choice would be driving continued growth in HDTV in Europe and North America. To back this up, on 16 February 2015 the company announced a spate of new satellite orders to cash in on what it regards as growth opportunities in video neighbourhoods across the Americas and the North Atlantic regions.

It added while the combination of population growth and improving levels of disposable income was creating significant demand for additional DTH platforms across emerging markets, in the coming years, the introduction of Ultra HD television would become an important catalyst of the next phase of growth.