Challenging year for SES
February 23, 2018 09.47 Europe/London By Julian Clover
SES is cutting back its 2017 dividend by 40 per cent as the satellite operator looks to strengthen its balance sheet.
SES Video, which represents two-thirds of the Luxembourg company’s revenues, was down €1,383 million on the year. The division was hit by issues with satellite health and launch delays. Looking ahead, there’s a warning that the implementation of new financial reporting standards will see a revenue reduction of between €15-€20 million on HD+, the HD platform SES operates for German DTH households.
Notably, HD+ didn’t win any new paying subscribers below the line in 2017: At Q4 2017, the total number of paying customers was 2.1 million (Q4 2016: 2.1 million). Things don’t look better for the platform when keeping in mind that two new competitors have recently emerged, both marketing a largely similar HD subscription package to German DTH households: Diveo from M7 Group and Freenet TV Sat from Media Broadcast.
Group revenues were down 1.6 per cent at €2,035 million.
Outgoing CEO Karim Michel Sabbagh said SES was already starting to see the benefits of its investment programme with three satellites launched in 2017 and two already launched so far this year.
“SES Video delivers more channels to more viewers from more premium neighbourhoods than any other operator and, with a backlog of €5.3 billion, our video business is large, profitable and resilient.”
SES has appointed Steve Collar as its new president and CEO and Andrew Browne as new CFO. The two will take over following the company’s AGM on April 5.
The loss of the 14-year old AMC-9 satellite, which failed in June, resulted in an impairment charge of €38.4 million.