Telenor Revenue Rises on Strength of Nordic HDTV Demand

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BREMEN, Germany – Satellite fleet operator Telenor Satellite Broadcasting of Norway on July 21 reported a 6.1 percent increase in revenue for the three months ending June 30 compared with the previous three-month period, saying the continued growth of high-definition television in the Nordic region was the main growth driver.

Oslo-based Telenor said it expected one of its major customers, UPC Direct, to complete the repointing of the rooftop antennas of UPC’s more than 300,000 direct-broadcast television subscribers by September. UPC, which is active in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia, in mid-2009 ended its contract with SES Astra at 19.2 degrees east and moved its programming to Telenor’s 1 degree west position, where the Thor 5 and Thor 6 satellites are stationed.

The initial UPC contract called for seven transponders, but Telenor said the broadcaster now leases 10 transponders on Thor 5 and Thor 6.

Telenor reported revenue of 275 million Norwegian kroner ($43.7 million) for the three months ending June 30, up 6.1 percent from the previous three months and a 5 percent increase over the same period a year ago. Telenor said that when foreign-exchange fluctuations are removed from the equation, the revenue growth was 8 percent from a year earlier.

EBITDA, or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, was 69 percent of revenue, the same as the previous quarter.

The company reported that its direct-to-home television subscribers dropped by 15,000 in the three months ending June 30, but that revenue from its core customer, Canal Digital in Norway, increased by 11 percent.

With Thor 5 and Thor 6 now operational at 1 degree west, Telenor moved its aging Thor 3 satellite to a new slot at 4 degrees west, where it will attempt to attract customers. The company said Thor 3, in inclined orbit — meaning that to save fuel it no longer is stabilized on its north-south axis — has sufficient fuel to continue operations for another six to 10 years.