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ThE MaStEr

SES maintains upward progress

SES says that all its revenue and core profit metrics are being maintained. Indeed, its year-on-year quarterly results are most impressive, with this latest quarter’s revenues up 11.4% on 2009’s numbers. However, SES managed to exclude business from its ND Satcom subsidiary, which it sold earlier this week, in its 9-month results announcement Oct 27. SES is now carrying 291 HDTV channels across its fleet.

Romain Bausch, President and CEO of SES, commented: “SES continues to make steady progress, building on the newly launched incremental capacity on the NSS-12 and ASTRA 3B satellites, covering the Indian Ocean Region and Middle East, respectively. SES-7 (formerly ProtoStar-2) has been fully integrated into our fleet, and we have begun selling the Ku-band capacity into the Asian market. In addition, HD TV remains a significant growth driver, with 291 HD channels broadcast on SES satellites at the end of the quarter, and interest in 3D TV continues to build. In a subsequent development, following its classification as an asset held for sale, SES has agreed the sale of a 75.1% interest in ND SatCom to Astrium Services.”
• Year to date reported revenue up 6.8% to EUR 1,287.2 million (2009: EUR
1,205.1 million)
• Recurring1 revenue of EUR 1,277 million, an increase of 4.7% over the prior
year period
• Reported EBITDA rose 6.3% to EUR 961.5 million (2009: EUR 904.8 million),
delivering an EBITDA margin of 74.7%
• Industry-leading infrastructure EBITDA margin of 83.4%
• Recurring EBITDA of EUR 973 million, up 4.4% over the prior year period
• Operating profit increased 7.9% to EUR 591.6 million (2009: EUR 548.3 million)
• Profit of the group was EUR 332.7 million (2009: EUR 364.3 million)

Third quarter reported revenue of EUR 442.3 million grew 11.4% versus prior year period, while reported EBITDA rose 12.4% to EUR 328.8 million. The group EBITDA margin for the quarter was 74.3%, with an infrastructure EBITDA margin of 82.9%. Operating profit grew 14.9% to EUR 205.3 million. On a recurring basis, revenue grew by 4.7% to EUR 437 million, and EBITDA grew 5.8% to EUR 332 million. Non-operating charges – financing charges and taxation – were up 8.9% on the
corresponding quarter of 2009, with a lower tax charge largely offsetting a limited increase in underlying interest expenses and the impact of non-recurring foreign exchange income recorded last year. The relatively low Q3 tax charge reflects the impact of investment tax credits on fixed asset investments. Profit of the group, at EUR 141.3 million, was ahead of the prior year period by 19.3%, reflecting the positive impact of the operating profit growth.

SES ASTRA’s business development in the quarter was driven by various elements: ASTRA 3B’s Middle East beam was wholly committed, and 11 of the 12 transponders were generating revenue in the quarter; Sogecable started services on two additional transponders, supporting its HD TV offering for the Spanish market at 19.2 degrees East and ASTRA2Connect gathered momentum, signing agreements to support satellite internet connectivity in Albania, Belarus, Hungary, Moldova, Ukraine and the Middle East region.

As interest in 3D TV offerings gained momentum, SES ASTRA launched an initiative to support the introduction of 3D TV in Europe. As part of the initiative, broadcasters and set-top box manufacturers developed a common understanding of the minimum technical framework for the introduction of 3D TV.

SES reiterated its guidance of the recurring revenue growth target in a range of 4% to 5% for 2010, with recurring EBITDA increase in line with the recurring revenue growth. Infrastructure activities are expected to continue to deliver a recurring EBITDA margin above 82%. Services activities are expected to deliver a recurring EBITDA margin of between 11% and 15%.

For 2010 to 2012 SES continues to target a compound annual growth rate for recurring revenue of 5%. This growth rate includes the negative impact of the termination of analogue DTH transmissions in Germany, the bulk of which is expected to occur by mid-year 2012. This top line growth translates into a corresponding recurring EBITDA growth.


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SES maintains upward progress





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