PARIS — Satellite and rocket-hardware builder OHB Technology AG reported March 28 that its revenue grew by 59 percent in 2006 compared to 2005 as it benefited from the first full year of contributions from MT Aerospace, which builds Ariane 5 launch vehicle components.
The Bremen, Germany-based OHB Technology said the growth in the satellite sector, for commercial and government customers, should enable the company to continue to increase revenues, but at a lower rate, in 2007.
Presenting its 2006 results March 28, OHB Technology said revenues in 2006 totaled 185.7 million euros ($246.8 million). Net profit was 12 million euros, a 12 percent year-on-year increase. Backlog at Dec. 31 stood at 447.5 million euros, up 7 percent over the previous year.
“We are making money for shareholders and that is certainly a nice position to be in, in addition to providing strategic assets to our government,” OHB Technology Chief Executive Marco R. Fuchs said in a March 28 interview. The company will propose a 15 percent increase in its annual dividend, to 23 euro cents, at its shareholder meeting in May. OHB Technology stock is traded on Frankfurt’s Neuer Markt.
OHB in July 2005 completed the purchase of a 70 percent stake in the former MAN Technologie of Augsburg, Germany, which has been renamed MT Aerospace. This division’s principal business is manufacturing components for Europe’s Ariane 5 heavy-lift launch vehicle. Ariane 5 launched five times in 2006, is scheduled to make six launches this year and seven in 2007 as it ramps up production to meet a surge in demand from mainly commercial satellite customers.
MT Aerospace is the principal asset inside OHB’s Space Transport and Aerospace Structures division, which accounted for 55 percent of revenues and 65 percent of company backlog in 2006.
OHB is a 7.8 percent shareholder in thecommercial launch consortium that markets Ariane 5 vehicles.
The company is also a 7.8 percent shareholder in Orbcomm Inc. of Ft. Lee, N.J., which operates a constellation of low-orbiting satellites to provide machine-to-machine communications for asset tracking.
OHB, with partners Polyot of Russia and Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va., is building seven new Orbcomm satellites to be launched this year aboard Russian rockets and is one of three groups competing to build Orbcomm’s next generation of 18 satellites.
The first of five OHB-built SAR-Lupe high-resolution radar reconnaissance satellites for the German Defense Ministry was launched in December and is functioning well, according to the company and the German defense customer. The second SAR-Lupe is scheduled for launch July 1 aboard a Cosmos rocket from the northern Russian Plesetsk Cosmodrome. The third SAR-Lupe is scheduled for launch in November.
OHB is proposing to adapt the SAR-Lupe platform to carry a high-resolution optical sensor for the Turkish government’s Gokturk system and is one of four companies — the others are Astrium Satellites Ltd. of Britain, Alcatel Alenia Space and Telespazio of France and Italy, and Israel Aircraft Industries Ltd. of Israel — bidding for the Kazakh contract.
OHB has not been a builder of commercial geostationary-orbiting telecommunications satellites but is entering that market, too, through a contract with the European Space Agency ().
ESA’s Small GEO program, for which initial contracts were signed March 7, is a public-private partnership budgeted at 115 million euros.
The first phase, devoted to research and design of a satellite providing 15 years of service life and 3 kilowatts of power, is valued at 13 million euros and is being financed by ESA. ESA has agreed to add 86 million euros in funding once this design phase is successfully completed.
OHB and its industrial partners have agreed to finance the remaining 16 million euros in costs of the project. The first small GEO satellite launch, which a payload and customer yet to be selected, is scheduled for 2010.