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Astra 3B delay forces SES to adjust guidance

Satellite operator SES has adjusted the financial guidance that it published in February due to the delayed launch of the Astra 3B satellite.

Astra 3B’s launch has twice been delayed due to technical anomalies. The delay, said Astra, is reducing the incremental revenue expected to be generated by the satellite this year. The financial guidance for 2010 has therefore been adjusted from around 5% recurring revenue growth, to a target range of 4% to 5%, with recurring EBITDA increase in line with the recurring revenue growth.

At the end of the first quarter of 2010, transponder utilisation stood at 909 out of a possible 1,157 commercially available transponders. SES’s Astra division reached 125 million TV homes at the end of March, up three million year-on-year. The operator said it broadcast 114 HD channels at the end of March, a figure that has increased to 123 today. In Germany, more than 750,000 smart cards have been ordered for Astra’s HD Plus service.

SES reported revenue of €423.4m for the quarter, compared with €423.9m a year earlier. Reported EBITDA was €307.6m.