Latin American Exchange Rates Take Toll on Hispasat’s Earnings

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PARIS — Fast-growing satellite fleet operator Hispasat of Spain on March 5 said it hit a plateau in 2013 as its increasing presence in Latin America — a plus given the region’s growth profile — suffered from foreign-exchange effects.

Madrid-based Hispasat said its 2013 revenue growth of less than 1 percent, to 201.4 million euros ($275 million), would have showed an increase of 4.4 percent were it not for the drop in Latin American currencies relative to the euro.

Hispasat has two more satellites being readied for Latin America. After repeated delays, the Amazonas 4A satellite is scheduled for launch this month aboard a European Ariane 5 rocket. 

Amazonas 4B, which like Amazonas 4A is built by Orbital Sciences of Dulles, Va., is scheduled for launch in late 2016, Hispasat said in response to SpaceNews inquiries. A launch vehicle has not yet been selected.

Assuming Amazonas 4A enters operations on schedule and absent any major currency-exchange effects, Hispasat said it expects to return to revenue growth in 2014, with an increase of between 3 percent and 5 percent.

This year will also be the first full year of operations for Amazonas 3, a Ka-band satellite for Latin American that was launched last February.

While Hispasat’s 2013 revenue was flat, the company increased its EBITDA, or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, by 1.7 percent. EBITDA was 81 percent of revenue for the year.

But the company’s pretax profit, at 66.3 million euros, was down 3.5 percent from 2012 as a result of larger depreciation of a larger base of orbital assets, and the currency fluctuations.

Hispasat said its capital investment in 2013 totaled 157.4 million euros to fund its expansion. The Americas now account for 55.6 percent of Hispasat’s total revenue. Six years ago, Latin America was just 31.5 percent of Hispasat’s revenue, with Europe and North Africa accounting for 68.5 percent.

 

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