SES revenue jumps 9.6% to €490 mn in first-quarter

SES, a leading satellite operator, has reported revenue of €490 million (+9.6 percent) during the first quarter of 2023.
SES satellite launchesSES has generated revenue of €248 million (+2.9 percent) from Networks and €242 million (–8.3 percent) from Video.

The company confirmed it expects the commercial launch of O3b mPOWER, a satellite communication system it is building to provide internet connectivity for customers such as Microsoft and Orange, in the third quarter of 2023.

SES expects to launch its fifth and sixth satellites for the project in June, having deployed two of its O3b mPOWER satellites in December 2022 and two more on April 28.

“This is the first time in seven quarters that SES has not announced a launch delay at its results,” Berenberg analyst Carl Murdock-Smith said.

The Luxembourg-based company said it is also still on track to receive $3 billion in pre-tax payments towards the end of the year for a project to clear C-band spectrum for 5G in the U.S.

Demand for satellite launches is expected to accelerate after sanctions sidelined the Russian space launch industry. Giant satellite constellations could offer a new channel to beam broadband Internet from space.

SES CEO Steve Collar in its earnings report  did not provide update on the company’s talks with Intelsat over a possible merger, but reiterated his view that “consolidation in the industry is broadly a good thing”.

Merger talks between the two signal further consolidation in the rapidly changing satellite Internet industry, in which Elon Musk-owned SpaceX’s Starlink and Amazon’s Project Kuiper are major players.

SES said it is targeting annual revenue of €1,950-2,000 million and Adjusted EBITDA of €1,010-1,050 million for 2023.

SES said capital expenditure is expected to be around €550 million in 2023, with an average annual capital expenditure of around €385 million for the period 2024-2027

Contract backlog on 31 March 2023 was €4.7 billion (€5.9 billion gross backlog including backlog with contractual break clauses), SES said.