New Skies Satellites, a global satellite carrier headquartered in The Hague (The Netherlands), today posted a strong set of financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended 31 December 2003. The company reported full year revenues of USD214.9 million, up 7% from USD200.5 million in 2002, while quarterly turnover reached USD54.1 million, up from USD50.8 million. Net income for the year totalled USD11.8 million, from a loss of USD4.6 million previously, although the 2002 figure included the impact of a change in accounting methods of USD23.4 million relating to goodwill. Excluding this effect, New Skies posted net income in 2002 of USD18.7 million. Meanwhile, fourth quarter net profit reached USD2.4 million, down from USD4.4 million a year earlier. The carrier reported EBITDA of USD119.6 million (USD110.3 million: 2002) and USD29.9 million (USD27.8 million) for the full year and fourth quarter respectively.
New Skies chief financial officer, Andrew Browne, has attributed the company’s positive performance to having successfully provided capacity ‘in the right places in the world’. Strong growth areas for the operator include the Middle East, Africa and India, where New Skies boasts good coverage patterns. In India, the carrier recently secured a major deal with one of the companies that has received a licence from the government to offer international telephony services under the country’s new deregulated regime. Elsewhere, in Nigeria New Skies claims to have enjoyed some success in helping the country to develop its telecommunications infrastructure. For the next twelve months to two years, New Skies has defined its strategic objectives as fostering growth and creating shareholder value. Organic growth is being achieved through the launch of two new satellites – yielding an additional 67% in satellite capacity – which it is now intent on filling up. In addition, the satellite operator is keen to explore avenues for consolidation and with a debt free balance sheet and USD1 billion in assets, is well-placed to move should the right opportunity come along.
New Skies was created in 1998 through the privatisation of Intelsat. At that time the latter spun off five satellites, along with its customer base and orbital positions, to create New Skies Satellites with a corporate headquarters in the Netherlands. The carrier provides video, data, voice and internet communications services to over 70 countries and successfully completed its IPO in 2000, listing on the New York Stock Exchange and Euronext in Amsterdam. In terms of product split, Mr Browne is on record as saying that video distribution accounts for about 40% of its business, data interconnect another 40%, and internet over satellite, about 20%. In 2003 New Skies successfully commissioned a new satellite, NSS-6 in the Indian Ocean region, and repositioned its NSS-5 orbiter, previously located at 338.5 degrees east longitude to 183 degrees east longitude, making it available for services in the Pacific Ocean region.