Satellite Operator Eutelsat Refinances $2.4 Billion Debt

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PARIS — Satellite fleet operator Eutelsat has refinanced 1.765 billion euros ($2.4 billion) in debt due in June 2013 with a mix of 5 percent bonds and a separate package including a credit facility and bank loans that will relieve the company from repayment obligations until mid-2016, Eutelsat announced Dec. 7.

Paris-based Eutelsat, which is the world’s third-largest commercial satellite fleet operator in terms of revenue, and among the most profitable, said it sold 800 million euros in bonds with a seven-year maturity that will pay a 5 percent annual interest. The solicitation was more than five times oversubscribed.

Eutelsat Chief Financial Officer Catherine Guillouard said in a Dec. 7 statement that the market’s response to the bond issue and to Eutelsat’s procurement of 700 million euros in unsecured loans and a 200 million-euro revolving credit facility “confirm the strength of our unique business model. With this overall refinancing of Eutelsat Communications’ existing indebtedness, our group will have the flexibility to continue its long-term strategy.”

Eutelsat is in the middle of a multiyear expansion of its in-orbit satellite capacity for which it forecasts spending 550 million euros per year through mid-2014. The company’s fiscal year ends June 30.

During the same three-year period, Eutelsat is forecasting that its annual revenue growth will average more than 7 percent, with its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) averaging better than 77 percent of revenue each year.

For its fiscal year ending June 30, 2012, Eutelsat expects revenue of at least 1.24 billion euros.