Fast-growing APT Commits To Long March Launches

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PARIS — Satellite fleet operator APT Satellite Holdings of Hong Kong announced March 22 a 26 percent increase in shareholder profit on an 18.8 percent increase in revenue for 2012 compared with 2011 and said its new Apstar 7 satellite should help maintain revenue and profit in 2013.

APT also said it had entered into a long-term agreement with China Great Wall Industry Corp. of Beijing, which markets China’s Long March rocket, for future launches of APT satellites. The launches will be aboard an enhanced version of the workhorse Long March 3B rocket, the Long March 3B/E.

“This agreement is in line with the company’s strategic plans to secure launch service opportunities at reasonable prices for the launch of its future satellites or replacement satellites,” the company said in a statement.

Apstar 7 was launched aboard a Long March 3B/E rocket in March to replace the retiring Apstar 2R. Built by <span class=”removed_link” title=”http://spacenews.com/profile/thales-alenia-space/”>Thales Alenia Space</span> of France and Italy, Apstar 7 carries 28 C-band and 28 Ku-band transponders and will operate at the Apstar 2R slot at 76.5 degrees east longitude. Apstar 2R customers have since been transferred to Apstar 7.

Apstar 7 carries Ku-band beams targeting China, the Middle East, North Africa and a wider African beam, plus a steerable beam that can be switched among these regions.

APT said that as of Dec. 31, Apstar 7 was 74.6 percent full. Apstar 6 was 80.4 percent full and Apstar 5 was 74.2 percent full.

Total APT revenue for 2012 was 900.6 million Hong Kong dollars ($116 million). Profit was 354.4 million Hong Kong dollars. APT said it is increasing its dividend to 2.5 Hong Kong dollars from 1.5 Hong Kong dollars last year.

“The group continued to record significant growth thanks to the successful launch of Apstar 7,” APT Group President Cheng Guangren said in a statement. “Looking ahead, there will continue to be sustainable growth in the area of transponders in the Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa regions.”