SES President and CEO Romain Bausch says the satellite operator is on track following the commitment to digital broadcasting by Germany’s public broadcasters and new contracts for broadcast services in Central and Latin America as well as India.
“SES has reorganised its activities under a streamlined management structure, which will optimise the execution of our growth strategy. The new structure will deliver operational efficiencies and revenue, cost and EBITDA synergies, enhancing our future growth,” Bausch said in a statement.
Reported revenue in the first quarter was €428.4 million, up 4.2% over the prior year, while EBITDA stood at €321.5 million, up 3.5%. Operating profit grew by 6.7% to €206.3 million. SES’ contract backlog was €6.6 billion at the end of the quarter.
SES said that its growth in the months ahead is based on the delivery of new capacity to serve what it sees as the strong demand in the emerging markets. In 2011, a total of six SES satellites are scheduled for launch to provide replacement and growth capacity. Three of these satellites, as well as Yahsat 1A, will carry incremental new capacity.
SES Astra now broadcasts 211 HDTV channels, up from the 190 at the end of 2010. The commitment of the public broadcasters in Germany to switch off analogue transponders is significant – analogue transmissions have reduced from 35 transponders at the end of 2010, to 33 transponders at the end of the first quarter 2011 – though cable operators are adamant they will continue an analogue service.
Nine transponders have already been recontracted for digital services after the analogue switch off. Five are for the German public broadcasters, ARD and ZDF, under an agreement signed in February 2011. The capacity will be used for the transmission of HD TV programming starting in May 2012.