Eutelsat’s very busy day

Chris Forrester

Eutelsat had an extraordinarily busy May 14. Early in the morning came a formal announcement that its 50% joint-venture (with SES Astra) Solaris Mobile was not working as planned and was subject to further testing. Moments later came news that Eutelsat had selected Astrium as main contractor for its Atlantic Bird 7 craft (7 deg West).

AB7 should launch later in 2011. The 7 deg West position is alongside Egypt’s Nilesat craft. A successful launch will allow Eutelsat to re-deploy AB4A back to its initial mission and name, of Hot Bird 10 and in orbit at 13 deg East.

Meanwhile, Eutelsat also updated the market with its latest numbers for its Q3 (and 9 month) trading results, which were well worth shouting about. For example, Eutelsat’s CEO Giuliano Berretta reported a 5.6% increase in Q3 revenues, compared to last year, while its 9-month revenues were 7.1% ahead of the company’s annual targets. This element alone prompted a further upgrading of Eutelsat’s expectations for the year, to “above €925m” (from €910m) for the full year.

Berretta’s comments spoke about Eutelsat’s ability to manage the current economic situation. He said: “Our Group is fully benefiting from its solid model as an infrastructure business focused on digital broadcasting and broadband markets with lasting prospects for growth. Our leadership in the EMEA region, combined with this strong commercial positioning have resulted in continued growth of more than 5% for this quarter, consolidating our excellent perspectives for further development.”