Navigation, Telecomm Satellites Give Astrium Revenue Boost

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  Space News Business

Navigation, Telecomm Satellites Give Astrium Revenue Boost

By PETER B. de SELDING
Space News Staff Writer
posted: 19 May 2009
03:15 pm ET






PARIS — The Astrium space division of European aerospace giant EADS on May 12 reported a 20 percent increase in revenue and a 9 percent increase in pretax profit for the three months ending March 31, citing work on navigation and telecommunications satellites for the revenue boost.

Astrium
also reported a huge increase in orders in the quarter – 5.64 billion euros ($7.69 billion) compared to 874 million euros in the same period a year earlier – on the strength of an order for 35 Ariane 5 rockets that EADS Chief Financial Officer Hans Peter Ring said was valued at nearly 5 billion euros.

Astrium
also booked orders for two commercial telecommunications satellites from satellite fleet operator Arabsat of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and additional work on
France
‘s M51 strategic missile, EADS said.

Astrium’s
revenue for the quarter was 904 million euros. Pretax profit, at 36 million euros, did not keep up with the revenue increase, leaving Astrium with a pretax profit margin of 4 percent, compared to 4.4 percent a year ago. In a conference call with investors, Ring said Astrium’s work on
‘s Galileo satellite navigation program helped raise the pretax profit level.

Bolstered by the Ariane 5 order, Astrium’s backlog as of March 31 stood at 15.9 billion euros, up 25 percent from a year ago.

Astrium
includes three separate lines of work.

Astrium
Space Transportation is prime contractor for
Europe
‘s Ariane 5 heavy-lift rocket and also builds French missile systems. It accounted for 41 percent of Astrium’s total revenue for the quarter.

Astrium
Satellites, one of the two large satellite system integrators in
Europe
, produced 26 percent of the quarterly revenue.

The fast-growing Astrium Services division accounted for 23 percent of revenue, compared to 19 percent of total Astrium revenue in 2008. Astrium Services purchased the French government’s stake in Earth observation services provider Spot Image in mid-2008.

On the down side for Astrium Services was the decline in value of the British pound against the euro. While it is expanding into other areas, Astrium Services’ core contract remains a multiyear deal with the British Defence Ministry to provide British defense forces with all their beyond-line-of-sight communications. Astrium has built and launched three Skynet 5 satellites as part of this contract and is also providing services to NATO from the spacecraft.

Astrium
Services and NavCom of Torrance, Calif., on March 31 announced a strategic agreement making Astrium Services the exclusive distributor in
Europe
for NavCom’s navigation products. NavCom is a 100 percent-owned subsidiary of John Deere Co.