Eutelsat Posts 5.6 Percent Revenue Boost in First Quarter

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  Space News Business

Eutelsat Posts 5.6 Percent Revenue Boost in First Quarter

By PETER B. de SELDING
Space News Staff Writer
posted: 19 May 2009
02:33 pm ET






KOUROU,
French Guiana
— Satellite fleet operator Eutelsat on May 14 reported a 5.6 percent increase in revenue for three months ending March 31 compared to a year ago and said all three of its principal business lines contributed to the growth.

Paris-based Eutelsat, the world’s third-largest commercial satellite fleet operator as measured by sales, said its businesses appear so healthy that the company is raising its revenue forecast for all of 2009 to 925 million euros ($1.26 billion). Eutelsat’s 2009 fiscal year ends June 30.

Led by its video broadcasting division, Eutelsat’s sales were 236.5 million euros for the three months ending March 31. When foreign exchange fluctuations are removed from the numbers, the underlying growth was 3.6 percent.

The U.S. dollar’s rise against the euro helped swell euro-based Eutelsat’s numbers, especially for its multiusage service division, which focuses on government customers and in the past couple of years has seen sharp revenue growth driven by U.S.-led military operations in the
Middle East
and
Central Asia
.

Still, about 75 percent of Eutelsat’s revenue comes from leasing capacity for television broadcasts. In a May 14 statement, Eutelsat said its 9 degrees east orbital slot has been winning business in Western and
Central Europe
, while the 16 degrees east position is making contract inroads in the Balkans and its 36 degrees east slot is finding success in video service in
Russia
and
Africa
.

Eutelsat
added a net 26 new transponders in the three months ending March 31, for a total of 527 across its fleet. Backlog at March 31 was 3.8 billion euros, an increase of 8.6 percent compared to Dec. 31.

Eutelsat
had reported that as of Dec. 31 its fleet was more than 97 percent filled, a situation that makes it difficult for the company to grow without increasing prices on its existing transponders, many of which are booked through multiyear leases. The company is in the midst of a major fleet expansion “to reduce the operational constraints” from having so little available capacity, Eutelsat said.