SES weathers economic storm

Satellite operator SES says it is well-placed to weather the current
economic storm and has maintained its financial guidance for the rest
of the year.
The operator reported recurring revenue of EUR1.186bn for the nine months to September 30, up 7.1 per cent on the previous year. Reported revenue was down slightly from EUR1.196bn to EUR1.195bn. Recurring EBITDA was EUR846m, up 5.6 per cent, while reported EBITDA was stable at EUR832.9m. SES maintained its infrastructure EBITDA margin at 82.5 per cent. Operating profit was EUR507.8m, up seven per cent.

SES expects to achieve revenue growth of approximately five per cent this year, and to maintain this through to 2010. CEO Romain Bausch said: “We have confirmed guidance which means we have not been negatively impacted by the economic conditions of the last two months.”
Bausch said SES had secured financing to cover its needs for the next 12 months. He said the group planned to launch two more satellites this year, beginning with Astra 1M in November, followed by four in 2009 and two each in 2010 and 2011.

Bausch said that SES should be relatively well-placed to withstand the economic storm. “The advantage for us for the time being is that as we are in an infrastructure business we have no direct revenue exposure to the consumer. We are a business-to-business business,” he said. “For our media customers [we believe] there will be no substantial impact in the medium term, although there might be an impact in the short term with regard to new channels being added to bouquets and things like that.” Government services would also provide a reliable source of revenue, although enterprise and telecom clients (the smallest of the three sectors that made up SES’s client base) might be hit by the recession, he said.

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