Asia Satellite Telecommunications Holdings Limited, Asia’s leading satellite operator, today announced its interim results for the six months ended 30 June 2019.
• 1H revenue down 5% to HK$693 million (2018: HK$730 million), primarily due to nonrenewal of certain customer contracts in mid-2018, and the impact of continued pricing pressures from capacity oversupply in some key markets and increased competition from terrestrial networks
• 1H profit attributable to owners up 4% to HK$223 million (2018: HK$215 million), as a result of cost controls, favourable currency fluctuations and reduced tax expenses
• Strong cash flow with cash and bank balances at HK$938 million as at 30 June 2019 (31 December 2018: HK$547 million)
• Interim dividend of HK$0.18 per share (2018: HK$0.18 per share)
• Overall capacity utilisation of AsiaSat’s core fleet of AsiaSat 5, AsiaSat 6, AsiaSat 7, AsiaSat 8 and AsiaSat 9 stood at 70% (128 transponders utilised/leased) as of 30 June 2019 (31 December 2018: 72%, 131 transponders utilised/leased)
• The initiative to transform AsiaSat 9 into a video ‘hotbird’ continues to gain traction, with new channels in Mandarin, Korean and Nepali added and market access expanding across the Asia-Pacific
• With extended C-band satellite spectrum being repurposed for 5G services in various countries at different paces causing a tightening supply of C-band capacity, the company has resorted to commercial and technical solutions including ‘traffic re-grooming’ to optimise available capacity for video distribution
• Introduction of a new 5G bandpass filter that has been proven effective in protecting customers’ existing C-band services against out-of-band interference due to 5G network deployment Page 2 of 16
• Proposed privatisation of AsiaSat by way of a scheme of arrangement and delisting from the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited announced on 27 June 2019, which is subject to approval by the scheme shareholders at the Court Meeting and Special General Meeting on 23 August 2019
AsiaSat’s Chairman, Gregory M. Zeluck, commented, “It is useful to note that satellite remains as the video delivery method of choice in the Asia-Pacific while new terrestrial services such as over-the-top (OTT), video-on-demand (VOD) and subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) continue to operate at a low revenue base. As of now, though the impact of OTT and other digital terrestrial platforms remains limited, we expect them to grow rapidly and the Group will continue to evaluate and explore various opportunities with our customers to provide new OTT services as value added extensions of our existing video distribution services.
In the first half of 2019, low-flexibility high-throughput satellite (HTS) capacity has been deployed by some regional operators, causing an increase in supply vis-à-vis demand for data services. Such excess of low-flexibility capacity has put pressures on the commercial viability of this type of HTS and some applications in traditional fixed satellite service (FSS) data services, thus reaffirming the Group’s decision to adopt a cautious approach to our plans for future data satellites to be designed with a cost-effective HTS architecture that could meet market needs for customised data services.”