SES S.A., a leading worldwide satellite operator (NYSE Paris:SESG)
(LuxX:SESG), reports financial results for the twelve months ended 31
Romain Bausch, President and CEO, commented:
"2012 was a highly successful year for SES. As German analogue
broadcasting was finally switched off, taking EUR 108 million out of our
revenue, our strong sales pipeline not only overcame this challenge, but
delivered absolute top line growth. Revenue and EBITDA growth in 2012
was in line with guidance although impacted by the SES-5 launch delay
and reduction of capacity on AMC-16, which in total represented EUR 13
million of lost revenue. New capacity launched in 2012 will fuel growth
in 2013 and 2014, as momentum is maintained in Latin America, Africa and
Asia. Having successfully launched three satellites in 2012, we will be
launching another four spacecraft in 2013, which will add over 100 new
transponders to support our growth, especially in the developing
markets. The group's 3-year revenue and EBITDA CAGR guidance of 4.5% is
reiterated. We also look forward to two launches, with a subsequent
entry into service, of the O3b Networks constellation, an exciting
initiative which we expect to deliver substantial value in the years to
1 "Constant FX" refers to the presentation of the prior year
comparative figures on a constant exchange rate basis, whereby those
figures are translated into euro using the actual exchange rates
prevailing in the current period.
Reported revenue for the full year increased by 5.5% to EUR 1,828.0
million, while EBITDA rose by 5.6% to EUR 1,346.6 million. On a constant
FX basis, revenue and EBITDA rose by 1.5% and 1.6%, respectively.
Excluding the EUR 13 million impact of the late launch of SES-5 (and the
consequent delays in the European Commission acceptance procedure for
the EGNOS payload) and the reduced revenue from AMC-16 following solar
array circuit degradation, constant FX revenue and EBITDA growth would
have been 2.2% and 2.5%, respectively. The Group EBITDA margin increased
to 73.7% (2011: 73.5%), with the industry-leading margin on
infrastructure revenue increasing to 83.5% (2011: 82.3%), while services
delivered a margin of 14.8%, in line with the prior year.
New satellites entering service resulted in an increase in depreciation,
which was amplified by the stronger U.S. dollar exchange rate, and
impairment charges recorded in respect of solar array circuit failures
on AMC-16 (as detailed below). Reflecting these higher depreciation
charges, operating profit was EUR 790.5 million (2011: EUR 808.2
million). Net financing charges increased by EUR 11.1 million,
principally due to a reduction in foreign exchange gains and a value
adjustment on a financial asset.
Profit of the group rose by 5.0% to EUR 648.8 million, driven by
operating earnings and taxation. The positive contribution from taxation
resulted from the release of EUR 107.9 million of tax provisions.
Excluding this release, the effective tax rate would have been 10.6%.
Net operating cash flow of EUR 1,233.4 million showed an increase of EUR
153.5 million, or 14.2%, year-on-year, reflecting higher EBITDA and a
more favourable working capital development. With outflows for investing
activities falling in 2012, the free cash flow before financing
activities more than doubled to EUR 535.7 million.
The group's net debt/EBITDA ratio was 2.96 at the end of the year,
against 3.12 times at the end of 2011.
The group's contract backlog at the year-end was EUR 7.5 billion, a new
all-time high, reflecting excellent progress in both renewals and new
business, including contracts for DTH platforms signed in Q4 in Latin
America on SES-6, and in Europe.
A dividend of EUR 0.97 per A-Share is proposed in respect of 2012.
Notable events during the year were the switch-off of analogue TV
broadcasting in Germany, the successful launch of three satellites
(SES-4, SES-5 and ASTRA 2F) adding a total of 129 C- and Ku-band
transponders for growth markets, and the activation of the Ka-band
payload on ASTRA 2F to enhance satellite broadband offerings in Europe.
European region revenue declined by 3.6% to EUR 923.3 million on a
constant FX basis. This decline is due to the analogue switch-off in
Germany in April, which led to the loss of EUR 108 million of revenue.
This loss was partially offset by EUR 74 million of new revenue added in
the European region, arising from the re-commercialisation of part of
the capacity freed up, and growth at other European orbital positions,
as well as by the robust performance of HD+ in Germany, whose revenue
grew strongly in line with the number of paying customers.
An overall European inventory increase through the period of 12
transponders, to 345 transponders, was delivered with the launch and
entry into service of SES-5 and its Ku-band Nordic beam. The number of
utilised transponders declined by a net 21 as a result of the German
analogue switch-off at 19.2°E and the cable contract terminations at
23.5°E, which were partially compensated by increased utilisation at
28.2°E, 31.5°E and 5°E. The utilisation rate in Europe at the year-end
was 80.9%, compared to 90.1% at the end of 2011. Transponder pricing in
the various markets remained stable.
Satellite reinforced its position as the leading TV distribution
infrastructure in Europe, ahead of terrestrial and cable reception,
according to the 2011 European Satellite Monitors market survey. ASTRA
served 62 million, or 74%, of all European satellite homes, while
ASTRA's total reach, including redistribution by terrestrial networks,
grew by 5% to 142 million TV households. Of the 186 million digital TV
homes, 44% were served by satellite. High definition channels continued
to proliferate, with 356 carried on ASTRA satellites at end of 2012, up
from 267 the year before.
The positive trend continued into 2012; over 18 million German
households received TV via satellite, more than any other distribution
platform, an increase of over 3% and representing a market share of 47%.
HD penetration also continued to grow, being received by 13.1 million
satellite TV households in Germany (2011: 11.5 million). The full
results of the 2012 European Satellite Monitors survey are due to be
published in March 2013.
A new DTH platform, MagtiSat in Georgia, began broadcasting from 31.5°E
at the beginning of the year. It cemented its successful start with the
addition of a fourth transponder early in 2013 to support its growing HD
and SD content line-up.
The BBC added 48 dedicated channels in HD and SD for the Olympic Games
in London, enabling real-time coverage of all events.
Significant capacity renewals were agreed during the year, notably with
Canal+ at 19.2°E and with the BBC and Globecast at 28.2°E, securing
their substantial capacity requirements.
The launch and entry into service of the ASTRA 2F satellite delivered
additional capacity for European operations. The Ka-band payload added
1.7 GHz, which now enables SES Broadband Services to deliver satellite
connectivity with download speeds of up to 20 Mbps. NordNet, Viveole and
Wibox in France are the first service providers marketing this enhanced
connectivity offering. ASTRA 2F also carries additional frequencies for
the 28.2°/28.5°E neighbourhood, to be commercialised from October 2013
under an agreement with Media Broadcast, the rights holder. As disclosed
in the Q3 2012 results announcement, an arbitration process has been
initiated by Eutelsat, on whose satellite these frequencies are
presently commercialised. SES strongly disagrees with Eutelsat's
position and will vigorously defend its right to use these frequencies
from October 4, 2013.
Services activities in Europe developed well, with HD+ continuing to
make good progress in Germany, passing 1 million paying users in January
2013. The platform added 3 programmes during 2012 and now carries 15 HD
channels. The number of paying users at the end of 2012 was 945,000,
more than double the number at year end 2011.
In the North America region, revenue increased by 5.7% to EUR 422.1
million on a constant FX basis. The increase was largely due to new
government service business and services rendered with the SES-3 Ka-band
The North American fleet inventory reduced by 8 transponders to a total
of 384, arising from the payload reduction of AMC-16 following
incremental solar array circuit failures in 2012. The number of utilised
transponders reduced by 13 to 289. The utilisation rate at the end of
the period was 75.3%, compared to 77.0% at the end of 2011. Transponder
pricing in the region remained stable.
Strong performance in the U.S. Government segment was driven primarily
by the effective SES-GS response to new opportunities that became
available as a result of changes in U.S. Government procurement
During the first half, NASA TV contracted one transponder on AMC-18 for
HD and SD programming.
The U.S. presidential election delivered an expected boost to Occasional
Use (OU) services. There was a record use of SES satellites over the
United States and elsewhere. Usage peaked at 1200 MHz across the fleet,
with all available North American OU capacity filled. Additional demand
was generated following the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.
In-flight broadband connectivity services continued to develop. In
December, GoGo announced that it is contracting capacity of more than 6
transponders on several SES spacecraft to offer in-flight broadband
connectivity across the continental United States and on transatlantic
Activities in the international region delivered an 8.5% increase in
revenue at constant FX to EUR 482.6 million. The increase came from
numerous new contracts across the markets served and a full year
contribution from QuetzSat-1.
The International transponder inventory increased by 117, resulting from
the entry into service of SES-4 and SES-5 and the repositioning of AMC-3
and NSS-7, to total 707 transponders. The number of utilised
transponders increased by 34 to 500, as capacity on SES-4, NSS-7 and
YahLive, among others, was taken up. The utilisation rate in the
International region at the end of the period was 70.7%, compared to
79.0% at the end of 2011. Transponder pricing across the region remained
In Latin America, Telefonica unit Media Networks Latin America (MNLA)
signed a multi-transponder, multi-year contract on AMC-4 for DTH
services in Central America and the Caribbean. The AMC-3 spacecraft has
been relocated to 67°W, where it is co-located with AMC-4.
Rede Novo Tempo renewed its capacity on NSS-806 for TV and radio
services in Brazil.
Communications networks applications also continued to develop, with
Telespazio Brasil taking capacity on the SES-4 satellite for high speed
broadband and VSAT services in Brazil, and Astrium Services renewed
capacity on SES-4 for its maritime communications networks around Latin
America and EMEA. Level 3 Communications concluded another SES-4
agreement, taking capacity for corporate broadband network services in
Brazil and elsewhere in Latin America.
Across Africa and the Middle East regions, VSAT and broadband
applications were also prominent. ICCES, a Saudi Arabia-based service
provider, took capacity on SES-4 to expand its VSAT networks in the
Middle East, while Netherlands-based Castor Networks contracted
additional capacity on NSS-7 for VSAT networks in southern Africa. TRT
Turk took capacity on SES-5 to distribute its TV and radio programming
to sub-Saharan Africa. 2Day Telecom, a subsidiary of VimpelCom Group,
signed up more NSS-12 capacity for GSM backhaul in Kazakhstan.
SES Broadband Services (SBBS) established further partnerships for
delivery of satellite internet connectivity in Africa. SatADSL has
signed a marketing agreement with SBBS for sub-Saharan Africa, to
deliver broadband and VoiceoverIP connectivity via ASTRA 4A at 5°E. Damy
Engineering is also using capacity on ASTRA 4A to deliver SBBS in Benin,
West Africa. In November, SBBS installed and managed a network to
support the parliamentary elections in Burkina Faso which took place in
The Asia-Pacific region saw development of telecommunications and TV
applications. Telikom PNG contracted over 100 MHz on the NSS-6 and NSS-9
satellites to deliver GSM backhaul for the mobile network in Papua New
Guinea. PacTel, an important telecom player, also contracted additional
capacity on the NSS-6 and NSS-9 satellites, to extend voice and data
connectivity across the Pacific region. Romantis took capacity on NSS-12
for VSAT and network services in Russia and Central Asia. Mediascape of
the Philippines signed additional capacity on the SES-7 and NSS-11
satellites for the enhanced HD and SD offerings of the pay TV
broadcaster Cignal TV.
O3b Networks continued the installation of its ground network systems,
in preparation for service launch. Service offerings for the Internet
Trunking (O3bTrunk), Energy (O3bEnergy), Maritime (O3bMaritime)
and Mobile backhaul (O3bCell) sectors were unveiled. New
agreements were signed with Royal Caribbean Cruises, and with regional
telecoms operators for delivery of high-speed connectivity in
Madagascar, Cook Islands, Colombia and Brunei, among others. Two
launches, each of which will loft four satellites, are scheduled in Q2
and Q3 of 2013, with network services expected to start in the second
half of 2013. SES presently has a 47% interest in O3b Networks.
The AMC-16 satellite experienced further solar array circuit failures
during the year. Three events impaired power generation, in January,
April and November. The payload of the satellite has been reduced, with
customer payments adjusted accordingly. The carrying value of the
spacecraft has also been adjusted, resulting in a EUR 36.6 million
impairment charge. No other spacecraft have experienced solar array
impairments requiring reduction of commercial capacity in 2012.
Four spacecraft are due to launch in 2013. In June, three satellites are
scheduled: SES-6, which will deliver 49 additional transponders in Latin
America and the Atlantic Ocean Region; SES-8, a replacement spacecraft
for Asia-Pacific which will add 21 transponders for the region, and
ASTRA 2E, a replacement spacecraft for UK and Ireland, which will add 12
transponders for Africa via a steerable beam. In September, ASTRA 5B is
scheduled, to be positioned at 31.5°E, where its payload will add 21
transponders to the 19 presently available on ASTRA 1G.
SES signed a contract with Boeing for the construction of SES-9, a
replacement satellite for the Asian markets served from 108.2°E. The
spacecraft will add 53 transponders at this orbital position, and is
scheduled for launch in 2015.
In mid-2013, SES-8 will be the Group's first spacecraft to be launched
by SpaceX. SES has signed an agreement with SpaceX for three further
launches on the Falcon 9 rocket. SpaceX adds diversity in the satellite
launch market and offers additional security for timely access to space.
Outlook and Guidance
SES reiterates the three-year CAGR 2012-2014 guidance, which is for
revenue and EBITDA to increase by approximately 4.5% (at constant FX).
When excluding analogue revenue from the basis, the projected three-year
CAGR 2012-2014 growth rates for revenue and EBITDA are 7.5% and 8.0%
respectively (at constant FX).
SES' 2013 and 2014 revenue growth will be primarily driven by SES'
investment in incremental capacity for emerging markets (SES-4, SES-5,
SES-6 and SES-8), continued growth from European digital infrastructure
(19.2°E, 28.2°E and 31.5°E) and services (HD+). While for 2013 the
year-on-year growth will remain impacted by the analogue switch-off on
30 April 2012, the 2014 growth rate will be unaffected by this impact
and will see the ramp-up of new capacity launched in 2012 and 2013 as
well as an expected increase in the utilisation rates in all regions.
For 2013, revenue and EBITDA growth guidance is for 4%-5% (at constant
FX), based on the present launch schedule and fleet health status.
EBITDA growth should reflect an increased contribution from services
during 2013. Excluding the analogue switch-off, revenue and EBITDA are
expected to grow by 6.5%-7.5% and 7%-8%, respectively. Expected EBITDA
growth rates result from the greater efficiencies of SES operations
(following the 2011 reorganisation) and continued cost management.
SES also reiterates that capital expenditure will reduce, as the
satellite replacement cycle approaches its minimum level. The average
annual spending reduces from EUR 700 million during 2011-2013 to a
maximum of EUR 450 million during 2014-2017. Free cash flow before
financing and dividends will therefore significantly increase from 2014
onwards, reflecting the growth in revenue and EBITDA and the reduction
in capital expenditure.
Quarterly development of operating results
Transponder utilisation at end of period
U.S. dollar exchange rate
For chart (or graph), please see www.ses.com
Revenue increased 5.5% on a reported basis and by 1.5% at constant FX
compared to 2011.
On a constant FX basis, Infrastructure revenue of EUR 1,586.4 million
was in line with the prior year level (2011: EUR 1,586.8 million), with
the EUR 108 million reduction of German analogue revenue being partially
offset by EUR 74 million of new European revenue generated by
commercialisation of freed-up capacity at 19.2°E and new contracts for
Central and Eastern European markets at 23.5°E and 31.5°E. North
American revenue growth of 5.7% originated primarily from the SES-3
Ka-Band payload and new government services, which were partially offset
by reduced revenue from AMC-16 due to satellite health issues.
International revenue growth of 8.5% was driven by QuetzSat-1, YahLive
and the additional new capacity, mainly on the SES-4 and SES-5
satellites, brought into service during 2012.
Services revenues rose 6.2% at constant FX to EUR 386.9 million (2011:
EUR 364.2 million), driven by higher contributions from US Government
Services and HD+.
Revenue by downlink region:
In millions of euro
EBITDA rose 5.6% as reported, and by 1.6% at constant FX against the
Overall operating expenses of EUR 481.4 million (2011: 475.6 million)
increased by 1.2% (at constant FX) year-on-year, reflecting higher costs
of sales associated mainly with the increased revenue contribution from
HD+ and SES-GS. Excluding costs of sales, and adjusting for the
reorganisation charge of EUR 14.8 million in 2011, operating costs fell
EUR 12.2 million, or 3.8%, year-on-year.
The Infrastructure margin expanded year-on-year to 83.5% (2011: 82.3%),
with the Services margin maintained at 14.8% (2011:14.8%). As a result,
the SES group EBITDA margin increased to 73.7% (2011: 73.5%).
1 Revenue elimination refers to cross-charged
capacity and other services; EBITDA impact represents unallocated
Depreciation charges increased by EUR 83.9 million in 2012, resulting
from three main factors:
1. The stronger U.S. dollar in 2012, which accounted for EUR 21.6
million of the increase;
2. New satellite capacity entering service or recognised throughout the
period (Yahlive, SES-3, ASTRA 1N, SES-2, QuetzSat-1, SES-4, SES-5, ASTRA
3. A total of EUR 36.6 million in impairment charges taken in 2012 on
the AMC-16 satellite as a result of solar array circuit failures.
Excluding the impact of the exceptional AMC-16 charge, the underlying
depreciation charge was EUR 479.0 million.
Profit from continuing operations before tax
The increase of EUR 11.1 million in net financing charges in 2012 arose
mainly from a reduction in net foreign exchange gains in 2012 compared
to 2011, and higher value adjustments on financial assets.
Profit attributable to equity holders of the parent
The positive contribution from taxation resulted from the release of EUR
107.9 million of tax provisions. Excluding this release, the effective
tax rate would have been 10.6%.
Net operating cash flow increased strongly, partly due to strengthening
U.S. dollar, but also from higher cash generation from operations and a
more favourable development of working capital.
Cash applied to the purchase of tangible assets was significantly lower
than in 2011, resulting in free cash flow before financing activities
more than doubling to EUR 535.7 million.
CONSOLIDATED INCOME STATEMENT
For the year ended December 31
1 Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and
2 Earnings per share are calculated by dividing the
net profit attributable to ordinary shareholders for the period by the
weighted average number of shares outstanding during the year as
adjusted to reflect the economic rights of each class of share. Fully
diluted earnings per share are insignificantly different from basic
earnings per share.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENT OF FINANCIAL POSITION
As at December 31
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENT OF CASH FLOWS
Additional information is available on our website www.ses.com
A press call will be hosted at 11.00 CET today, 22
February 2013. Journalists are invited to call the following
numbers five minutes prior to this time.
A call for investors and analysts will be hosted at 14.00
CET today, 22 February 2013. Participants are invited to call
the following numbers five minutes prior to this time.
A presentation, which will be referred to during the call, will be
available for download from the Investor Relations section of our
A replay will be available for one week on our website: www.ses.com
Disclaimer / "Safe Harbor" Statement
This presentation does not, in any jurisdiction, and in particular not
in the U.S., constitute or form part of, and should not be construed as,
any offer for sale of, or solicitation of any offer to buy, or any
investment advice in connection with, any securities of SES nor should
it or any part of it form the basis of, or be relied on in connection
with, any contract or commitment whatsoever.
No representation or warranty, express or implied, is or will be made by
SES, its directors, officers or advisors or any other person as to the
accuracy, completeness or fairness of the information or opinions
contained in this presentation, and any reliance you place on them will
be at your sole risk. Without prejudice to the foregoing, none of SES or
its directors, officers or advisors accept any liability whatsoever for
any loss however arising, directly or indirectly, from use of this
presentation or its contents or otherwise arising in connection
This presentation includes "forward-looking statements". All statements
other than statements of historical fact included in this presentation,
including, without limitation, those regarding SES' financial position,
business strategy, plans and objectives of management for future
operations (including development plans and objectives relating to SES
products and services) are forward-looking statements. Such
forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks,
uncertainties and other important factors that could cause the actual
results, performance or achievements of SES to be materially different
from future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by
such forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements are
based on numerous assumptions regarding SES and its subsidiaries and
affiliates, present and future business strategies and the environment
in which SES will operate in the future and such assumptions may or may
not prove to be correct. These forward-looking statements speak only as
at the date of this presentation. Forward-looking statements contained
in this presentation regarding past trends or activities should not be
taken as a representation that such trends or activities will continue
in the future. SES and its directors, officers and advisors do not
undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking
statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or
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