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SES revenues hit by poor showing from ND SatCom

Satellite operator SES has reported revenue of €416.3m for the third quarter, a rise of 2.4%. The company’s revenue growth was hit by lower equipment sales from its ND SatCom unit, leading SES to reduce its revenue growth forecast for the year from between 3-4% to 1.5%.

SES reported EBITDA of €294.1m for the quarter, up 4%. Group EBITDA margin for the quarter was 70.6%, while the margin for SES’s core infrastructure (i.e. transponder sales) business was 82%.

SES president and CEO Romain Bausch, speaking on a conference call, said that while services revenue had declined, there was no impact on EBITDA and profit levels because these were in any case low-margin businesses relative to the infrastructure segment.
SES’s guidance for its infrastructure business remains unchanged for the full year. The company sold 20 additional transponders during the quarter and has increased its utilisation rate from 80.5% to 82.2%.

Bausch said that SES was retaining its guidance of 5% revenue growth for the next year, and would maintain a compound annual growth rate of 5% in the 2010-12 period, despite the unfavourable impact of digital switchover in Germany in 2012.

During the third quarter, European division SES Astra struck a deal with ProSiebenSat.1 to launch three HD channels on Astra’s HD Plus platform for Germany, and sold additional capacity to Dutch and Flemish pay-TV broadcaster Canal Digitaal and Polish public broadcaster TVP, with the latter launching a new free-to-air platform.