AsiaSat Sees Profits And Revenues Dip
AsiaSat, the leading Asian satellite operator, has seen its revenues and profits drop in the first six months of 2003. Its revenues in the first half of 2003 were HK$456 million ($58.5 million) compared to HK$479 million ($61.4 million) in the first half of 2002. The 5 per cent drop has to be taken in light of the tough market conditions in the Asia-Pacific region.
AsiaSat’s profits have also taken a fall. In the first half of 2003, it had profits of HK$240 million ($30.8 million), where as in the first half of 2002, it had profits of HK$280 million ($35.9 million), a drop of 14 per cent. In a statement, AsiaSat said the drop was “particularly disappointing” and did not “accurately mirror” its achievements in the first six months.
These numbers reflect how difficult it has been for AsiaSat, although there are some signs of optimism for the operator. Central to its growth strategy is the launch of the AsiaSat 4 satellite. The satellite has 28 C-band and 16 Ku-band transponders and was launched successfully in April this year. The satellite can provide services such as direct- to-home, telecom, broadband, and IP services, as well as private networks for businesses, to more than 40 countries. The satellite began commercial service last month.
Certainly, boosting its transponder utilisation rates will be key for the company. The overall utilisation rate on its AsiaSat 2 satellite is now at 60 per cent, compared to 66 per cent at the end of December 2002. In terms of its AsiaSat 3S satellite, the utilisation rate is at 62 per cent, the same figure as the end of 2002. Also, with AsiaSat 4 coming on board, the company’s overall utilisation rates are likely to remain fairly low for the foreseeable future. So in a market where there is excess capacity, the number one challenge over the next few months will be to make sales on AsiaSat 4 and begin moving the transponder utilisation rate northwards.
(Contact: Winnie Pang, Asiasat, e-mail: Wpang@asiasat.com)