SES S.A. reports financial results for the nine months and three months ended 30 September 2016.
Karim Michel Sabbagh, President and CEO, commented: “These results demonstrate that SES’s differentiated strategy is enabling the return to sustainable long-term growth, with third quarter revenue higher than both the previous two quarters (same scope). The positive growth dynamics in global video are accelerating and MX1 is already gaining market traction, as demonstrated by the recent contract for global distribution of the English Premier League. Mobility growth remains very strong. The agreement with Thales Avionics for SES-17 further increases SES’s significant backlog for aeronautical connectivity and validates the differentiated approach of building customised HTS solutions. O3b remains on track to double its revenue in 2016. This unique global solution significantly enhances SES’s product offering and long-term growth dynamics across the data-centric verticals, especially in Enterprise. SES is focusing on significant growth opportunities in the four market verticals. In the event that the timing of these extends beyond Q4 2016, this may impact pace of growth in the final quarter, with revenues likely to be below the previous FY 2016 guidance range. SES’s focus on delivering differentiated global solutions is significantly improving the business mix and accelerating the growth outlook for 2017 and beyond. This is underpinned by SES’s substantial contract backlog of now EUR 7.6 billion, and EUR 8.0 billion including the strong backlog from O3b and RR Media.” Operational review SES’s fully protected contract backlog increased to EUR 8.0 billion as at 30 September 2016 (30 September 2015: EUR 7.1 billion), benefiting from important new business and renewals across SES’s four market verticals. The backlog includes EUR 0.3 billion from O3b and EUR 0.1 billion from RR Media. Video: 69% of group revenue (YTD 2015: 66%) Reported revenue of EUR 1,026.8 million grew 3.8% (up 3.5% at constant FX) over the prior period. Revenue development included the first contribution from RR Media (consolidated on 6 July 2016), which complemented growth of 0.9% at constant FX and same scope. At 30 September 2016, SES’s global satellite fleet broadcasts in total 7,317 TV channels to hundreds of millions of households all over the world. SES’s Video business continued to benefit from the acceleration of High Definition (HD) and Ultra HD (UHD) broadcasting in SES’s developed markets, as well as the continued expansion of video platforms and capabilities in the international markets. HDTV channels grew by 6.1% (YOY) to 2,434 channels and SES’s HD penetration increased from 31.3% to 33.3% over the same period. In July 2016, Japan International Broadcasting Inc. signed a long-term agreement for SES to broadcast NHK WORLD TV in HD across Europe. NHK WORLD (HD), a 24/7 news and information channel, was one of around 50 new HDTV channels added across Europe in the last twelve months. SES’s portfolio of commercial UHD channels has also grown. At 30 September 2016, a total of 17 commercial UHD channels are broadcast by SES satellites (30 September 2015: one). In August 2016, Sky Deutschland launched their first two UHD channels – Sky Sport Bundesliga UHD and Sky Sport UHD. This was followed, in October 2016, by a capacity contract for the distribution of C4K360 across North America. This new channel is targeted at young audiences and offers a range of high-end entertainment programming in UHD. SES’s UHD channel development in North America also benefits from the recently announced (in October 2016) capacity and playout agreement with TERN to deliver INsight TV UHD, as well as the launch of the Nature Relaxation UHD channel. TERN launched INsight UHD and HD channels with SES in Europe last year, and is now expanding to North American audiences as well. On 6 July 2016, SES acquired RR Media and merged the business with SES Platform Services to create MX1, the world’s leading media services and solutions provider. MX1 already distributes over 2,500 TV channels and supports more than 120 video on demand (VoD) platforms around the globe. In August, MX1 signed an agreement with IMG to provide content distribution services for the broadcast of English Premier League matches in HD to TV service platforms, channels and networks across the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Enterprise: 12% of group revenue (YTD 2015: 15%) Reported revenue of EUR 181.7 million declined 15.9% (-16.6% at constant FX) over the prior period. Revenue development included the first contribution from O3b (consolidated on 1 August 2016). At same scope, Enterprise declined 20.0% at constant FX and was impacted by the prior year contribution from capacity contracted by ARSAT, in advance of the planned migration to its own satellite, as well as the 2015 capacity renewals with EchoStar on AMC-15 and AMC-16. Excluding these items, Enterprise revenue was 18.4% lower (at constant FX). This pertains to the part of SES’s Enterprise business which is derived from wholesale capacity sales to small and medium-sized resellers for point-to-point applications. These now represent around 2% of group revenue, compared with more than 3% at 30 June 2016 and around 6% at the start of 2015. SES is reshaping its Enterprise business to further focus on major global and regional service providers, telcos and mobile operators, where SES is delivering differentiated products and solutions. On 1 August 2016, SES completed the acquisition of the remaining shares of O3b, which offers global managed services, enabled by a unique ultra-high throughput and low latency Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) global satellite constellation. The business, which recently completed its second year of commercial operations, has doubled total revenue for YTD 2016 (compared with the prior period) and has delivered positive EBITDA since May 2016. The constellation provides ‘fibre in the sky’ connectivity services to a total of 46 customers and is on track to double its revenue and generate over USD 100 million of revenue for FY 2016. Around 55% of O3b customers have increased their initial bandwidth and services requirements since O3b began commercial operations in September 2014. In August 2016, Axesat began using the O3b network to provide broadband connectivity to internet service providers and 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE service to mobile network operators in Peru. The O3b solution enables Axesat to deliver an enhanced user experience to over 400,000 people, as well as small businesses and government markets. In October 2016, O3b secured an agreement with RCS-Communication to more than double their bandwidth capacity over the next two years to support increasing demand for cloud-based applications and Enterprise Resource Planning systems in South Sudan. RCS will also be the first customer to implement O3b Performance Services Diversity solution, which uses a software defined networking (SDN) platform to enable intelligent switching across multiple satellite links. With this solution, ground terminals are placed in multiple locations, yielding the highest possible network reliability and resilience, setting RCS apart for mission critical corporate and government applications. This was followed, in October 2016, by a contract between O3b and E-Networks to deliver high-speed, low latency connectivity to Guyana Goldfield’s Aurora Gold Mine. The provision of O3b connectivity to the mine will transform operations by enabling real time HD videoconferencing, cloud computing, database-driven applications and other key applications that were previously impractical to use. Mobility: 5% of group revenue (YTD 2015: 3%) Reported revenue of EUR 76.8 million increased 50.3% (up 48.5% at constant FX) over the prior period. The contribution from the consolidation of O3b was strengthened by growth of 32.5% at same scope, reflecting the important benefit from the commercialisation of capacity across SES’s existing global fleet for in-flight connectivity and maritime services. SES has continued to advance its market-leading positioning in in-flight connectivity and in-flight entertainment, expanding global capabilities to deliver a home-equivalent passenger experience. In September 2016, SES announced the procurement of SES-17, an optimised Ka-band high throughput satellite to be built by Thales Alenia Space and expected to be launched in 2020. SES simultaneously entered into a long-term commercial agreement with Thales Avionics to offer a new in-flight connectivity service across the Americas and over the Atlantic Ocean. Thales Avionics will use SES-17 to provide FlytLIVE, a new connectivity solution with full internet services, including video streaming, games, social media and live television for passengers. Thales Avionics will launch FlytLIVE in 2017, operating the service on two existing SES Ka-band multi-beam satellites prior to the launch of SES-17 in 2020. The total value of the commitment made by Thales Avionics represents a significant share of the expected investment in the project. With this important agreement, SES has now secured major, long-term pre-commitments for the company’s future HTS capacity (SES-12, SES-14, SES-15 and SES-17) with all four of the world’s leading in-flight connectivity and in-flight entertainment service providers – Global Eagle Entertainment, Gogo, Panasonic Avionics and Thales Avionics. SES has enhanced its products and solutions for delivering reliable, high-quality connectivity across the maritime industry. Since entering commercial service in September 2014, O3b has expanded its commercial relationship with Royal Caribbean Cruises from two to 11 cruise ships and grown from delivering capacity-only to a fully managed end-to-end solution. This contributed to year-on-year growth of over 75% in O3b’s mobility revenue for YTD 2016. In September 2016, SES also launched the global SES Maritime+ service to deliver high-speed connectivity to maritime customers. The managed connectivity platform solution combines SES’s global network infrastructure and hybrid satellite capacity with the latest technology from VT iDirect. This enables customers to have easy access to customisable bandwidth and coverage packages, ensuring satellite capacity is effectively utilised. The global Maritime+ product is part of SES Plus, SES’s enhanced data network, and follows the launch of a regional Ka-band Maritime+ offering that specifically targets Europe. In October 2016, O3b, RigNet and MODEC reached an agreement to provide O3b’s high throughput, low latency connectivity solution for MODEC’s Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessels, situated off the coast of Brazil. The O3 b solution will enable MODEC to deliver operational decisions in real time, improving production and operating efficiency. Government: 12% of group revenue (YTD 2015: 13%) Reported revenue of EUR 176.6 million was 10.1% lower than the prior period (-10.6% at constant FX). At same scope, revenue was 12.4% lower at constant FX than the prior year period, which had benefitted from the accelerated revenue contribution associated with the construction phase of the Wide Area Augmentation Systems (WAAS) and Global-Scale Observations of the Limb and Disk (GOLD) hosted payloads. Excluding these two U.S. Government-funded payloads, Government revenue was 6.8% lower (at constant FX). SES Government Solutions (SES GS) has continued to deliver innovative and differentiated products and solutions, which has generated new business opportunities and is contributing to an improvement in SES GS’s contract backlog. In August 2016, SES GS secured a contract to provide O3b’s unique high throughput, low latency managed solution for a U.S. Department of Defense (U.S. DoD) end-user. The contract also enables the U.S. government to order additional O3b services to meet further requirements. The solution will enable the U.S. DoD to substantially reduce the time taken to send large files to remote locations, and allows end-users to view simultaneous HD-quality videos, providing enhanced situational awareness in real time. This is SES GS/O3b’s second U.S. government customer, following the successful delivery of O3b connectivity solutions for the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in American Samoa. This contributed to year-on-year growth in O3b’s government revenue of over 650% for YTD 2016. SES is expanding the range of products and services available across the global government business. In September 2016, SES launched Tactical Persistent Surveillance (TPS), the first Government+ product offering. TPS is a highly portable surveillance and communications solution, which is rapidly deployable and designed to provide enhanced situational awareness for border security, special event monitoring and disaster response missions around the world. The TPS platform is based on Lighter-Than-Air inflatable aerostat technology, capable of hosting a variety of payload offerings to transmit or backhaul Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance video and data via satellite. In October 2016, SES, as part of emergency.lu, provided vital connectivity services in Haiti to support recovery efforts following the devastating impact of Hurricane Matthew. The emergency.lu terminals use dedicated SES satellite capacity to re-establish vital communication links, improving the effectiveness of rapid response efforts. Fleet utilisation As at 30 September 2016, the SES fleet had 1,550 available transponders (30 September 2015: 1,502 available transponders). Of these, 1,085 transponders were utilised at 30 September 2016 (30 September 2015: 1,086 utilised transponders). Consequently, the group’s satellite utilisation rate was 70.0% at 30 September 2016 (30 September 2015: 72.3%). This included the impact of SES-9’s entry into commercial service on 1 June 2016 (+53 transponders). Future capacity By end-2017, SES will launch six satellites, which will add a total of 127 incremental (36 MHz equivalent) transponders. Additionally, SES-12, SES-14 and SES-15 will carry a total of 36 GHz of HTS capacity, which will have the revenue generation potential of around 250 (36 MHz) wide beam transponder equivalents. In August 2016, SES and SpaceX announced an agreement for SES-10 to be the first ever satellite to be launched on a flight-proven Falcon 9 orbital rocket booster. Reusable rockets, such as this, will make access to space more efficient in terms of both cost and manifest management. O3b has procured an additional eight satellites to accommodate rapidly expanding demand, with four satellites expected to be launched during H1 2018, and the remaining four satellites expected to be launched in H2 2019. These procurements will increase the size of the current fleet from 12 to 20 satellites (including three satellites currently flying as in-orbit back-up). These GEO/MEO investments, plus SES-9 (which entered into service on 1 June 2016), are expected to generate up to EUR 750 million of potential annualised revenue (equivalent to over 35% of SES’s FY 2015 group revenue) at ‘steady state’ utilisation by 2021. SES-17, a Ka-band high throughput satellite, will offer a highly flexible payload with close to 200 spot beams of different sizes. The beams have been designed to provide optimal coverage for the busiest data corridors in the Americas and over the Atlantic Ocean. At ‘steady-state’ utilisation, the satellite is expected to generate annualised revenue of around EUR 100 million by around 2024. Financial review Reported revenue of EUR 1,490.1 million was in line with the prior period and was marginally lower at constant FX. Reported revenue included a EUR 46.0 million (YTD 2015: nil) contribution from the consolidation of RR Media (from 6 July 2016) and O3b (from 1 August 2016). Excluding the contributions from RR Media and O3b, revenue was EUR 54.6 million (or 3.6%) lower at constant FX and same scope, of which EUR 39.5 million was due to the impact of the revenue contribution in YTD 2015 from various ‘legacy items’. These comprised the sale of European transponders, capacity contracted by ARSAT in advance of the planned migration to its own satellite, the AMC-15/AMC-16 capacity renewal and the accelerated revenue associated with the construction phase of the WAAS and GOLD hosted payloads. Other revenue of EUR 28.2 million included an important periodic revenue contribution. EBITDA was 4.1% lower (4.7% at constant FX) primarily due to lower revenue. Operating expenses were higher due to the increase in costs following the consolidation of RR Media and O3b. At same scope, operating expenses improved by EUR 2.3 million, or 0.6% due to on-going efficiencies. The reported EBITDA margin for the period was 71.2% (YTD 2015: 74.1%) and 73.5% at same scope (excluding the consolidation of RR Media, O3b and related transaction costs). During the period, the positive contribution to EBITDA from RR Media and O3b was offset by the one-off transaction-related costs associated with the acquisition of the two businesses. 1 Excluding impact of RR Media and O3b from date of consolidation to 30 September 2016 (including transaction-related costs) Operating profit of EUR 610.4 million was 8.4% lower (-8.9% at constant FX), including an increase in depreciation and amortisation expense from EUR 440.1 million to EUR 450.5 million. At same scope and constant FX, depreciation and amortisation reduced EUR 14.2 million (or 3.2%) compared with the prior period. The YTD 2016 results include a reported gain on disposal of a non-controlling interest of EUR 495.2 million, which was recognised directly before the consolidation of O3b on 1 August 2016. Net financing costs of EUR 135.4 million were EUR 31.7 million higher than the prior period, which had included EUR 31.6 million of net foreign exchange gains related to the stronger U.S. Dollar during 2015. The group’s income tax expense was EUR 83.9 million (YTD 2015: EUR 89.2 million), representing an effective tax rate of 8.7% (YTD 2015: 15.9%). Excluding the EUR 495.2 million gain on disposal of noncontrolling interest, the effective tax rate was 17.7%. Profit after tax was EUR 886.3 million (YTD 2015: EUR 473.5 million). The effect of non-cash movements associated with the group’s minority shareholding in O3b (prior to consolidation on 1 August 2016) was the principal contributor to SES’s share of associates’ result being a loss of EUR 62.5 million (YTD 2015: EUR 95.5 million). The net profit attributable to SES shareholders for the period was EUR 824.0 million (YTD 2015: EUR 375.5 million), including the gain on disposal of a non-controlling interest of EUR 495.2 million. The group’s Net Debt to EBITDA ratio was 3.30 times at 30 September 2016 (30 September 2015: 2.62 times). This treats the hybrid bond as 50% debt and 50% equity. As presented using IFRS recognition principles, where the hybrid bond is treated as 100% equity, Net Debt to EBITDA ratio was 3.05 times at 30 September 2016. Net Debt to EBITDA included EUR 1.1 billion of net debt from the consolidation of O3b, of which around one third has already been refinanced by SES. SES expects to complete the full refinancing of the O3b debt by the year-end. This would accelerate the financing synergies from EUR 40 million to EUR 60 million in FY 2017. Financial guidance
Q3 2016 revenue (same scope) was higher than both the previous two quarters. Growth in video is accelerating and is complementing strong growth dynamics in mobility. Quarterly revenue in Enterprise and Government has stabilised, while Government backlog has grown. SES is focused on significant growth opportunities in the four market verticals and is supported by the unsurpassed contract backlog to date. The timing of some of these upcoming opportunities may extend beyond Q4 2016, and this, along with the development of wholesale capacity sales in Enterprise to date, may impact the previous FY 2016 guidance range, with revenues likely to be below the low end of the range. FY 2016 revenue is however not expected to be lower than around EUR 1,960 million (same scope). The Group's EBITDA margin (same scope) is expected to be around 73.5%. The FY 2016 financial guidance relating to the contribution from RR Media and O3b is unchanged. In particular, O3b is on track to double its revenues in FY 2016 and its unique global solutions are significantly enhancing SES's product offering and long term growth dynamics across all data centric verticals, especially in Enterprise, making it an important SES growth vertical from FY 2017. SES now has the foundation in place to deliver sustainable long-term growth. Recently added and future incremental wide beam and HTS capacity (from SES-9 to SES-16/GovSat-1), plus SES’s investment in O3b, is expected to generate up to EUR 750 million of additional annualised group revenue by 2021. This is equivalent to over 35% of SES’s FY 2015 group revenue. In addition, SES-17 (launch window in 2020) is expected to generate annualised revenue of around EUR 100 million at ‘steady-state’ utilisation by around 2024. The financial guidance assumes an average EUR/USD exchange rate of 1.10, as well as nominal satellite health and launch schedule.