Telesat’s 2005 Profit, Sales Rise

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Satellite-fleet operator Telesat Canada reported sharply higher sales and net profit in 2005, with the first full year of service of its Ka-band broadband satellite, Anik F2, and the purchase of a U.S.-based company that resells satellite capacity to television networks contributing to the improved results.

The Ottawa-based company, a subsidiary of BCE Inc. of Montreal, is preparing for an initial stock offering this year following a recapitalization by BCE. Officials at BCE said they hope to raise 1 billion Canadian dollars ($883 million) by selling up to 49 percent of Telesat Canada to the public.

Industry officials have speculated that BCE may elect to sell the Telesat stake to a single buyer. Telesat Chief Executive Larry Boisvert has said such a transaction was possible. The recapitalization and stock offering will occur after Telesat’s minority stake in Mobile Satellite Ventures of Reston, Va., is transferred to BCE. Under Canadian law, a majority of Telesat’s ownership must remain Canadian.

Telesat Canada March 10 reported a net profit in 2005 of 88.9 million Canadian dollars, an increase of 6.6 percent. Revenues totaled 474.7 million Canadian dollars, a 31.1-percent increase.

The Anik F2 satellite features a large Ka-band payload that is leased partly by WildBlue Communications of Denver for that company’s consumer broadband service. The WildBlue lease revenues are in part responsible for the revenue increase in 2005, Telesat Chief Financial Officer Ted Ignacy said March 10.

Another factor in the revenue increase is Telesat’s January 2005 purchase of SpaceConnection, a California firm that resells satellite capacity to television networks and cable programmers. Ignacy said SpaceConnection’s contribution to Telesat revenue in 2005 accounted for about one-third of the 31-percent increase compared to 2004.

Telesat also completed the installation of an interactive distance-learning network in the United States in 2005 for a customer that Telesat has agreed not to name. The contract “was a significant contributor to revenue throughout the year,” Telesat said.

Telesat Canada operates five satellites and has one satellite under construction. It does business throughout North and South America.