Astrium CEO: Company ‘Overperformed’ in 2009; Looking at European Military Contracts to Maintain Growth Rate
[Satellite News 01-18-11] Despite meeting its targets in the space business in 2010, satellite manufacturer Astrium found it difficult to build off of a strong year in 2009 and saw significantly less orders for telecoms satellites, Astrium CEO François Auque told Satellite News.
“We met our telecoms targets in 2010 and we’re happy about that,” said Auque. “As a matter of fact, we needed to maintain our capacity to deliver on time after over-performing in 2009, with seven orders in telecoms including the largest telecoms satellite contract ever signed from SES.”
Astrium secured three telecom and nine Earth observation satellite deals in 2010. In its preliminary full year figures released Jan. 12, Astrium posted a 4 percent increase in revenues in 2010 compared to 2009. The company had preliminary overall revenues of five billion euros ($6.47 billion) for 2010, a 4 percent increase compared to the same stage last year. Astrium also received 6 billion euros in orders in 2010, which represents a 43 percent increase compared to 2009. Astrium now has an order book worth about 16 billion euros ($20.71 billion).
“Our numbers are much better than expected despite a difficult economic climate. We were not expecting to be able to grow revenues,” said Auque. “Our main goal was to maintain our position as the world’s leading exporter of Earth observation satellites and to secure a quarter of the world’s telecom satellites.”
Auque said maintaining Astrium’s growth rate in its security and defense businesses could be even more challenging in 2011. In 2010, the manufacturer signed a contract with the French Ministry of Defense for two satellites for the optical space component) that will replace the current Helios 2 military observation satellites and will continue to work on the M51 ballistic missiles. Astrium also was contracted for the Skynet 5D military telecom satellite — the fourth of this series for the British Ministry of defense.
Astrium is hoping that a big military contract will come from France this year, as the country looks to beef up its milsatcom capabilities. “France is looking at the future of the milsatcom network Syracuse and its options for securing better value for money and of course future improvements.”
Auque said his goal in 2011 is to deliver and launch all of thke ATV 2 satellites on time as well as to continue developing its services business. “We hope that the ongoing tender for a public-private partnership for military telecommunications for the French armed forces will take account of our long experience with both the British and German Defense Ministries. We must also secure the future Galileo invitation to tender and make a full contribution to the European Commission’s GMES program.”