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Hong Kong’s AsiaSat Posts Increased Profits For 2018 – ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ For 2019

Artist’s conception of AsiaSat-9. Image courtesy of Space Systems Loral.

Asia Satellite Telecommunications Holdings Limited – AsiaSat – one of Asia’s leading satellite operator, announced on 8 March 2019 its financial results for the full-year ended 31 December 2018.

Financial Highlights:

  • 2018 revenue was up 6% to HK$1,442 million (U.S.$183.7 million) from HK$1,354 million (U.S.$172.49 million) in 2017, driven by new customers and on-going transponder renewals including the full-year earnings contributed by the leases of the full payload of AsiaSat 8 and AsiaSat 4
  • 2018 profit attributable to owners was HK$429 million (U.S.$54.65 million), up 8% compared to HK$397 million (U.S.$50.57 million) in 2017, as a result of increased revenue but offset by higher depreciation and reduced other gains during the year
  • Strong cash flow with cash and bank balances at HK$547 million (U.S.$69.68 million) as at end of 2018 (31 December 2017: HK$215 million [U.S.$27.39 million])
  • Proposed final dividend of HK$0.20 per share (2017: HK$0.20 per share [U.S.$0.025]). Together with an interim dividend of HK$0.18 per share (2017: HK$0.18 per share [U.S.$0.023]), the total dividend for the year 2018 is HK$0.38 per share (2017: HK$0.38 per share [U.S.$0.048])

Operational Highlights:

  • Overall capacity utilisation of AsiaSat’s primary satellites (AsiaSat 5, AsiaSat 6, AsiaSat 7, AsiaSat 8 and AsiaSat 9) as of 31 December 2018 stood at 72% (131 transponders utilised/leased), compared to 69% as at end of 2017 (126 transponders utilised/leased)
  • Successfully initiated the transformation of AsiaSat 9 into a video ‘hotbird’ with its unique, high-quality regional and international television neighbourhood
  • Video distribution remains a key revenue driver, accounting for two-thirds of the company’s C- and Ku-band capacity. Continued increase in transponder uptake is expected with the accelerated migration of television services from SD to HD and the increased bandwidth requirements for 4K delivery of premium sports and special events

AsiaSat’s Chairman, Gregory M. Zeluck, said, “The Group is cautiously optimistic about revenue prospects for 2019 and beyond, notwithstanding current oversupply of satellite capacity in key country markets, price erosion and the fierce competition from terrestrial networks.”

“With the slowdown in the deployment of new geostationary satellites, coupled with the tightening supply of C-band transponders due to the expected roll-out of 5G services in a number of Asian markets, we believe the demand for satellite transmission capacity will be outstripping net distribution capacity. In particular, regional demand for network connectivity, such as maritime and remote communications, remains positive. Therefore, we believe the market equilibrium will be tipping in favour of Fixed Satellite Service (FSS) operators such as AsiaSat,” Zeluck remarked.

“To date, the impact of high-throughput satellites (HTS) on traditional FSS providers in the region has not been as significant as expected, due to the slow, incremental roll-out of HTS. Hence, we will continue to evaluate the timely commissioning of an HTS satellite, AsiaSat 10, to support connectivity demands in in-flight-connectivity (IFC), maritime and other vertical markets that demand high capacity, high speed and efficiency,” he added.

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