Lower revenues from the Hotbird position were more than offset by sustained growth elsewhere, thereby helping Eutelsat grow its video revenues by 2.3% like-for-like to €943.6 million, in the full year 2015-16.
In its latest set of results, the company identifies MENA and Sub-Saharan Africa with the entry into service of new capacity on Eutelsat 8 West B in October 2015 and Eutelsat 36C in February 2016, as well as 16 degrees East (Sub-Saharan Africa and Central Europe), and 7 degrees East (Middle East and East Africa), as the areas of sustained growth.
It also says that Fransat recorded higher revenues on the back of the transition to HD in France.
Eutelsat broadcast a total of 6,342 channels as of June 30, or 549 more than a year earlier. HDTV penetration stood at 13.6% 911.9%), with the number of channels in the format being 863 (687).
Eutelsat’s total revenues in FY 2015-16 amounted to €1,529 million (+3.6% actual, +0.2% like-for-like).
Commenting on the 2015-16 financial year, Rodolphe Belmer, CEO of Eutelsat Communications, said: “The past year has seen a number of operational milestones, with the successful launch of five new satellites and the roll-out of initiatives to address the African broadband market. We made further advances in our core Video activity, exceeding the 6,000 channel mark on our fleet, with a further rise in HD penetration and the launch of the first commercial Ultra HD channels. We also took measures to optimise our financial situation with the successful €500 million bond issuance in June 2016, and the initiation of non-core asset disposals.
“At the same time, we are facing the challenge of a lower growth environment in certain of our core businesses, particularly data. In this context, we are implementing operational and financial measures aimed at restoring top-line stability as early as 2017-18 and maintaining our EBITDA margin above 75%. Our priority will be to maximize discretionary free-cash-flow generation through capex reduction, the containment of operating costs and balance sheet optimization to lower leverage in line with our commitment to our investment grade rating, while at the same time investing selectively to support a return to growth in 2018-19.
“We are confident in our ability to deliver on these objectives and commit to serving a stable to progressive dividend to our shareholders during this period”.