PARIS — Satellite fleet operator Telenor Satellite Broadcasting of Norway on Oct. 26 said its revenue and gross profit have improved since the beginning of the year and that it has begun loading customers onto an aging satellite in inclined orbit at a new orbital slot.
Oslo-based Telenor also said it is expanding its customer base for maritime communications to ships equipped with VSAT, or very small aperture terminal, antennas that permit high-speed links.
Telenor said that for the three months ending Sept. 30, revenue totaled 259 million Norwegian kroner ($44.8 million), which is down 6 percent from the same period a year ago, but up from the sharp dip in revenue reported in the first two quarters of this year. The company said that removing the effects of foreign exchange fluctuations and one-time acquisition or sales from the figures would show a 4 percent drop in revenue.
Telenor’s biggest customer, Canal Digital of Norway, in late 2010 renegotiated a group of fixed-price contracts with the satellite operator into a single contract that includes volume discounts. The new arrangement caused a sharp drop in Telenor Satellite Broadcasting’s revenue, and a smaller drop in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA).
In addition to the revenue increase for the three months ending Sept. 30, Telenor said its EBITDA had risen to 69 percent of revenue, up from 65 percent three months earlier and near the 70 percent level it reached in 2010 before the Canal Digital contract change.
In mid-2010 Telenor’s Thor 6 satellite arrived on station at the company’s core 1 degree west orbital slot, where it replaced the Thor 3 satellite launched in 1998. Thor 3 was moved to 4 degrees west and placed into inclined orbit, a fuel-saving maneuver that means the satellite is no longer stabilized on its north-south axis.
Telenor said Thor 3 could continue operations in inclined orbit at least until 2016, and perhaps until 2020.
Telenor operates three satellites and has a fourth under construction and scheduled for launch in late 2013.