Hispasat Says Sales Justify Expansion Plans

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PARIS — Spanish satellite fleet operator Hispasat on Aug. 4 reported double-digit increases in revenue and net profit for the three months ending June 30 compared to the same period a year earlier and said its results justify its fleet-expansion plans, which will double its in-orbit capacity by late 2012.

The Madrid-based company, which currently operates three telecommunications satellites and has a stake in the Spainsat military telecommunications spacecraft, has three satellites under construction. Amazonas 2, which will continue the company’s links between the Americas and Europe, is scheduled for launch late this year. Hispasat 1E is set for launch in late 2010. Hispasat AG-1, to be the first model of a new Small-GEO line of satellites backed by the European Space Agency, is scheduled for launch in 2012.

Hispasat said revenue for the three months ending June 30 was 75.5 million euros ($108.7 million), up 10.9 percent from the same period a year ago. Net profit, at 29.5 million euros, was up 55 percent.

EBITDA, or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization — a widely used financial metric among satellite operators — was 80 percent of revenue, placing Hispasat among the most profitable of the satellite fleet operators.

Hispasat is 32.4 percent owned by Abertis Telecom of Spain and 27.7 percent by Eutelsat of Paris. Eutelsat, in announcing its annual results July 31, said it had received a one-time payment of 25 million euros following the sale of certain of its voting rights in Hispasat.

The pre-emption rights would have enabled Eutelsat to maintain a constant percentage share ownership of Hispasat. Eutelsat Chief Executive Giuliano Berretta said during a July 31 conference call with investors that the sale was made because “we can never become majority shareholder of Hispasat due to the resistance of the Spanish government.”

Abertis officials have also suggested in the past that they would be interested in taking control of Hispasat, but have met with Spanish government resistance.