Solid growth for SES

Solid revenue growth and an improvement in margins across the board characterised a good set of nine-month figures for SES. The Luxembourg-based satellite operator grew reported operating profit by 7% from €474.7 million to €507.8 million. Net profits of €338.8 million were at a level close to the €347 million of the same period in 2007.

Despite the current uncertainty within the markets, SES has secured sufficient financing for the coming year, and has made little change to its forecasts. “The advantage for us is that as an infrastructure business we have no direct exposure to the consumer,” said Romain Bausch, President and CEO of SES told a media call. “It’s clear media consumption will be impacted, but to what extent nobody knows, and it may be that in difficult circumstances people may watch more TV.” Bausch said he was not expecting any changes in the rollout of new projects, though the speed of rollout may be affected.

The utilisation rate across the fleet increased to 77.6%, the Astra segment contributing a market leading 80.1%.

As reported last week in Broadband TV News, HD programming continues to take a larger share SES Astra capacity, climbing to 55 HD channels from 42 at the end of June.

The 23.5 degrees East position continues to develop as a key orbital slot for Central and Eastern Europe. Towercom has recently doubled its capacity for the Czech-Slovak Skylink package.