SES pushes back satellite launches

Satellite operator SES has pushed back the dates of three satellite launches this year, in a move that it said would “impact on revenue of up to €18 million in 2013.”

Announcing its half year results, SES said that the launch of Astra 2E, a replacement satellite at the 28.2°E orbital position, was due in July, but has now been rescheduled to an unspecified date later this year – probably in September – following the failed preceding Proton satellite, which burnt up after its launch in July.

The Falcon 9 launch of the SES-8 satellite at the 95°E orbital position, has been rescheduled from August to October, while the Astra 5B satellite, which will make 21 incremental transponders available for Central and Eastern Europe at the 31.5°E orbital position, is now expected to launch in December.

“The 2013 revenue and EBITDA guidance range of 4-5% growth provided with the full year 2012 results announcement was based on the launch schedule as known in February. While all other assumptions on which the guidance is based remain unchanged, the dates of these satellite launches will now be later than foreseen,” said Romain Bausch, president and CEO of SES.

“These schedule movements are expected to have a timing impact on revenue of up to €18 million in 2013. The project economics and returns on these satellite programmes remain unaffected, consistent with the long-term nature of our business.”

Overall for the six months ended June 30, SES said that revenues were €910.5 million, up 2.1% year-on-year, while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation were €662 million, down 0.5%.

“SES is growing in all markets. Although the German analogue switch-off in April 2012 limits the comparison with the prior year period, the underlying growth has accelerated,” said Bausch. The prior year period included €42.6 million revenue from four months of analogue DTH transmissions in Germany, which ended on 30 April 2012.