PARIS — Europe’s largest space hardware and services company, Astrium, reported Nov. 8 a 14 percent increase in revenue for the first nine months of 2012 compared with a year earlier, with Astrium Services’ purchase of mobile satellite services provider Vizada in December 2011 responsible for most of the growth.
Adding Vizada, whose revenue was estimated at about $660 million for 2011, boosted Astrium Services’ revenue by 84 percent, to 1.06 billion euros ($1.23 billion), for the nine months ending Sept. 30, Astrium owner EADS said during a Nov. 8 conference call with investors.
Astrium Space Transportation, which is prime contractor for Europe’s Ariane 5 rocket and Europe’s contributions to the international space station, reported revenue of 1.65 billion euros for the nine-month period, up 4.4 percent from a year ago. The division also builds France’s strategic missiles.
Astrium Satellites reported revenue of 1.22 billion euros, a 4.8 percent decline from a year ago, EADS said.
Taken together, the three Astrium divisions reported revenue of 3.93 billion euros.
EADS Chief Financial Officer Harald Wilhelm said Astrium booked nearly 2.9 billion euros in new orders in the first nine months of 2012, an increase of 23 percent over the same period in 2011. As of Sept. 30, Astrium’s total order backlog stood at 13.8 billion euros, down 6 percent from a year ago.
Astrium’s pretax profit margin, at 4.9 percent of revenue, was slightly improved from the 4.8 percent margin reported a year ago. Wilhelm said Astrium’s streamlining initiative, known as Agile, had begun to produce its intended effects, and that Vizada’s contribution also helped in the slight increase in profitability.
Three Astrium-built satellites were launched in the first nine months of 2012: the Spot 6 optical Earth observation satellite, financed in-house by Astrium; the Metop-B polar-orbiting meteorological satellite, built for Europe’s Eumetsat meteorological agency; and a commercial telecommunications satellite for satellite fleet operatorof Luxembourg.
Wilhelm said a meeting of European Space Agency governments Nov. 20-21 in Naples, Italy, would be a key indicator for Astrium’s future business prospects. Decisions are expected on European space science, Earth observation, telecommunications, exploration and launch vehicle programs.