Orbiting Wall Street 11/13/06

By | November 13, 2006 | Broadcasting, Feature, Telecom

Paris, Lux:SESG

SES Global posted revenues of 481.18 million euros in its 2006 third quarter, a 54 percent increase from revenues of 313 million euros in the same period a year ago, the company announced.

SES reported a profit of 132 million euros in the most recent quarter, which closed Sept. 30, and an operating profit of 199.6 million euros. In the 2005 third quarter, the satellite operator earned 108 million euros and an operating profit of 119 million euros.

"The third quarter results confirmed our expectations and guidance, maintaining the strong business performance reported for the first half," Romain Bausch, the company’s president and CEO, said in a statement.

Recurring revenue growth of 7 percent was augmented by the revenues from the acquisitions of SES New Skies and ND Satcom during the previous 12 months, Bausch said. "With the acquisition of SES New Skies and ND Satcom strengthening both our global coverage as well as our government services capabilities worldwide, a solid foundation is being laid for continued growth in 2007 and beyond," he said. The transponder utilization rate was 73 percent during the 2006 third quarter, with 810 of 1,113 commercially available transponders producing revenue. Use in the EMEA segment remained stable at 82 percent, or 238 of 289 available transponders providing service. In Europe, the rage was 221 of 247 transponders, or 89 percent, and in Africa 17 of 42 transponders were in use. Transponder utilization in the Americas segment rose to 356 of 500 commercially available transponders, or 71 percent, which also reflected the sale of nine transponders on the AMC-12 satellite to Star One for $43.2 million.

SES also benefited from a $49 million payment from Connexion by Boeing for termination of its contract for transponders on AMC-6 and AMC-24. SES will record an additional $21.7 million from Connexion in the fourth quarter.

Services revenues improved 69 percent to 81.5 million euros due to the ND Satcom contribution.

Paris: ETL

Eutelsat Communications reported revenues of 199.5 million euros in the company’s 2007 first quarter, up 6 percent from revenues of 188.3 million euros in the same period a year ago. Gains in video applications led the way for Eutelsat, offsetting declines in the data & value-added services and multi-usage segments.

Video applications posted revenues of 142.8 million in the 2007 first quarter, which closed Sept. 30, up nearly 11 percent from revenues of 129 million euros in the 2006 first quarter.

"Our 6 percent revenue growth in the first quarter reflects the strong performance of video applications, which are a source of long-term contracts," Giuliano Berretta, Eutelsat’s CEO, said in a statement. "This segment now accounts for more than 70 percent of total revenue and reinforces the distinctive profile of the Eutelsat group. This increase demonstrates the efficiency of our strategy, which aims at consolidating our orbital locations serving European Union countries and at further developing our resources for emerging markets in eastern and central Europe, the Middle East and Africa in order to accompany the dynamic of digital broadcasting."

Data & valued-added services recorded revenues of 40.8 million euros in the 2006 first quarter, down from 42.2 million euros in the most recent quarter, while multi-usage revenues slipped form 16.2 million euros to 14.7 million euros in the same period. Berretta attributed the declines to "the transformation of some short-term contracts into long- term contracts and of the technical incident in August 2005 on the W1 satellite."

Eutelsat raised its capital expenditure guidance to 980 million euros for the next three years, compared to the previous estimate of 770 million euros. The increase is driven by the advanced procurement of the Hot Bird 10 satellite now scheduled to be launched in first quarter of 2009 and the addition of an S-band payload aboard the W2A satellite for a planned mobile video joint venture with SES Global.

Iridium

Iridium Satellite LLC reported revenues of $54.7 million in the 2006 third quarter, with earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $14 million. The company had 169,000 at the end of its 2006 third quarter, up 29 percent from subscribers of 137,500 at the end of the 2005 third quarter.

Iridium attributed its continued growth to increased demand for voice and data services from commercial customers. Commercial Service now comprises about 70 percent of total revenue, while demand for data services has increased 44 percent in the past year, Iridium said.

"With seven consecutive quarters of profitability, Iridium is in a strong position to move forward with its next-generation constellation and service plans," Matt Desch, the company’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "… At the same time, we’re investing in our current constellation to develop capabilities in ways never thought possible."

GILT

Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd. posted a profit of $2.7 million in its 2006 third quarter, compared to a loss of $1.7 million in the same period a year ago. Gilt reported a 30 percent improvement in revenues in its 2006 third quarter to $63.8 million, up from $49 million in the 2005 third quarter.

"We have succeeded in achieving improvement in all our main financial parameters this quarter," Amiram Levinberg, Gilat’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "We further increased our revenues, improved our operating income and enhanced our net income. During the quarter, we saw more business in emerging markets, especially in Russia, Africa and Latin America. We are also witnessing an increase in demand for business continuity projects in the U.S."

WRSP

Worldspace Satellite Radio lost $28.9 million in its 2006 third quarter, up from a loss of $15.4 million in the same period a year ago, the company announced Sept. 9.

Revenues improved 42 percent over the same period, growing from $2.4 million in the 2005 third quarter to $3.3 million the most recent quarter, which closed Sept. 30. Subscription revenue grew 89 percent to $1.8 million for the 2006 third quarter.

"We remain confident in the medium- to long-term value proposition of global satellite radio," Worldspace Chairman and CEO Noah Samara said in a statement. " Worldspace continues to be well positioned with a number of assets and real market opportunities to capitalize on our existing infrastructure. Over the third quarter, we focused on fixing the issues that we identified in India in marketing, sales and distribution, and customer care and on building our technology and regulatory infrastructure."

Worldspace added nearly 16,900 net new subscribers in the 2006 third quarter, closing the period with more than 176,800 subscribers. In India, where Worldspace has made a major push throughout the past year, the company added more than 18,500 net subscribers, ending the quarter with more than 138,000 subscribers.

Subscriber acquisition costs were $37 in the third quarter of 2006, compared to $27 a year ago. Cost per gross addition was $137 in the most recent quarter, compared to $407 in the 2005 third quarter.

"We are concentrating on improving our operating performance in India, including the management of churn," Samara said. "While we believe we are making progress in these areas and should begin seeing real results over the next couple of quarters, we are also determined to bring partners on board who we expect will make contributions to in-market execution and funding requirements."

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