Telenor Numbers Drop Following Thor 2 Retirement

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PARIS — Telenor Satellite Broadcasting of Norway reported April 26 a drop in revenue and profit for the three months ending March 31, citing effects of the late-2012 end of the lease of its now-retired Thor 2 satellite and a one-time revenue gain a year ago that skewed the comparison.

Oslo-based Telenor said its Thor 7 satellite, equipped with a Ka-band beam for maritime broadband in the Nordic region in addition to Ku-band transponders for the company’s core broadcast business, is on track for launch in mid-2014. Thor 7 is under construction by Space Systems/Loral of Palo Alto, Calif.

Telenor operates the Thor 5 and Thor 6 satellites at its 1 degree west slot, and has part ownership of the Intelsat 10 spacecraft also at that location. The company’s aging Thor 3 has been placed into fuel-saving inclined orbit and operates at 4.3 degrees west to serve customers in the Middle East.

The company did not disclose its transponder fill rate but industry officials estimate that the Telenor fleet is more than 80 percent full. Thor 7 will provide additional capacity at 1 degree west.

For the three months ending March 31, Telenor reported revenue of 237 million Norwegian kroner ($40.5 million), down 5.5 percent from a year ago. Operating profit, at 101 million kroner, was down 13 percent.

EBITDA, or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, was down 10 percent. EBITDA was 68 percent of revenue, down from 71 percent a year ago.

Telenor had leased its aging Thor 2 satellite, which had already been replaced at its 1 degree west orbital position, to SES of Luxembourg. The lease ended in late 2012. Telenor said comparisons with the first quarter of 2012 were also affected by a one-time revenue gain following the reversal of a bad-debt provision a year ago.