Surprisingly strong performance by several Latin American and Asian satellite fleet operators in 2009 highlights an industry that has come through a severe economic crisis without a scratch.

The biggest satellite fleet operators — even those that are highly leveraged — have maintained their capital-expenditure plans. Their fill rates remain high. The smaller players once again resisted, for the most part, the temptation to merge rather than finance replacement satellites. Those awaiting consolidation of the industry will have to keep waiting.

As always, translating 2009 performance into U.S. dollars distorts some companies’ results, turning revenue increases into declines.

Companies listed here are providers of fixed satellite services, leasing capacity on geostationary-orbiting spacecraft for video, data and voice traffic.

Mobile satellite services providers and direct-broadcast television providers using their own satellites are not included. Mobile satellite operators Inmarsat, Iridium, Globalstar, Thuraya and Orbcomm are thus absent, as are DirecTV and Dish Network. Also not appearing on this year’s list are companies for which reliable year-end revenue figures were not provided by press time but whose results presumably would secure them a place in the rankings. Companies in this category include China Direct Broadcast Satellite Co. and Turksat.



Peter B. de Selding was the Paris bureau chief for SpaceNews.