Latin American Market Drives Hispasat Growth

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PARIS — Spanish satellite operator Hispasat reported April 24 modest growth in revenue in 2011 and a more-substantial increase in gross profit, saying its business in Latin America grew at double-digit rates.

The Madrid-based company, whose large Amazonas 3 satellite for coverage of Brazil is slated to launch in 2013, said its Latin American business accounted for 49 percent of its total 2011 revenue, up from 44 percent in 2010.

The Latin American satellite telecommunications market is one of the world’s fastest growing, especially when compared with Hispasat’s home market of Western Europe.

In addition to 33 Ku- and 19 C-band transponders, Amazonas 3 will include nine Ka-band spot beams. The satellite is under construction by Space Systems/Loral of Palo Alto, Calif.

Hispasat said its revenue in 2011 totaled 187.5 million euros ($249.4 million), up 3.5 percent from 2010. But Latin American revenue, at around 92 million euros, was up 15 percent over 2010.

Hispasat’s Amazonas 2 satellite was launched in late 2010 and was one of the main drivers of 2011 revenue growth.

Hispasat said its EBITDA, or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, was 82.5 percent of revenue in 2011, putting Hispasat among the most profitable of the major satellite operators. EBITDA was 79.7 percent and 77.4 percent of revenue in 2010 and 2009, respectively.

Also contributing to the revenue increase in 2011 was the Hispasat 1E satellite, launched in December 2010 into Hispasat’s 30 degrees west orbital slot for European and trans-Atlantic communications.

Hispasat operates a fleet of five in-orbit satellites. Two more are under construction: the Amazonas 3 and the Hispasat AG1 spacecraft, with the latter being built as part of a European Space Agency program whose prime contractor is OHB AG of Germany. AG1, featuring an experimental payload and a new satellite platform, is scheduled for launch in 2013.

In an April 24 statement, Hispasat said it had reduced its operating costs in 2011 by 10.9 percent.

Hispasat is currently reviewing bids from manufacturers for one or two satellites, with a decision expected in the coming weeks.