Eutelsat Shows Double-Digit Revenue Increase
Eutelsat’s half-year results ended Dec. 31 last year showed a double-digit percentage increase in revenues, compared with the same six months of 2002. During the first six months of the 2003/04 financial year, Eutelsat increased its revenues to $479.1 million. This compared to a little more than $424.4 million at the same stage in 2002. The double- digit revenue growth is particularly impressive given the tough market conditions that still are prevalent, although $28.5 million of this growth came from the settlement of indemnities for late delivery of satellites. Still, even without these indemnities, Eutelsat achieved a highly respectable 6-percent-plus growth compared with 2002.
One leading industry source, who requested anonymity, told Satellite News, “Given the current state of the telecom sector, Eutelsat’s numbers looked pretty good. The interesting comparison at this point is it is side-by-side with Intelsat, and it is a completely different story. Intelsat’s results still are basically going down quarter-by- quarter 2002 to 2003. Although Eutelsat is not seeing gigantic movement, it is moving in the right direction. All the numbers are moving in the right direction. It looks like a pretty good results story to me.”
So why has Eutelsat been able to increase its revenues? Satellite News’ anonymous source said, “It is a combination of two of three reasons why they have maybe outperformed others. Out of all the satellite companies in the world, Eutelsat is by far and away the luckiest, and that is with reference to the situation in the Middle East. Eutelsat happened to be launching satellites with optimum coverage that didn’t have a lot of pre-commitment on them. Eutelsat is providing an incredible amount of capacity to the U.S. government and probably to the U.S. broadcasters as well, in terms of Middle East coverage. That has been an incredibly positive development for them.”
Eutelsat also saw its bank debt level decrease during the last six months. The operator, which has been involved in the launch and acquisition of five satellites as well as acquiring a stake in Hispasat, has reversed the trend of increasing debt. It managed to reduce its bank debt by $177.8 million in the last six months. With its revenues showing positive increases, Eutelsat CEO Giuliano Berretta was delighted with the results and the positioning of the company, particularly given the age of its fleet. He commented, “With the five satellites we launched or acquired in the 2002 to 2003 period, we are now equipped with the youngest satellite fleet in the world through at least 2005.”
As of Dec. 31, 2003, the company’s backlog was $4.6 billion, a drop of $122.4 million compared with the beginning of the financial year. In terms of video applications, Eutelsat was able to keep consumer broadcasting revenues stable at $314 million, representing around 70 percent of total revenues. At the end of last year, Eutelsat’s satellites were broadcasting more than 1,400 television channels and 700 radio stations to more than 110 million DTH and cable homes.
In separate news, Eutelsat signed a contract with the RSCC (Russian Satellite Communications Company) for the lifetime lease of 12 Ku-band transponders on the RSCC’s Express AM22 satellite, which was launched in December 2003. –Mark Holmes
Contact: Vanessa O’Connor, Eutelsat, e-mail: Voconnor@eutelsat.fr.