UPDATE 1-SES earnings slip after German analogue switch-off

Fri May 17, 2013 3:17am EDT

* Q1 core profit 321.2 mln euros vs Rtrs poll 329 mln euros

* Keeps 2013 outlook

* Revenue growth more in H2 with satellite launches planned

BRUSSELS, May 17 (Reuters) - SES , one of the world's largest commercial satellite operators, suffered a decline in earnings in the first quarter after last year's switch-off of analogue transmissions to Germany.

However the company retained its full-year outlook

SES, which sells transmission capacity to the likes of BSkyB , Echostar and India's Dish TV, said core profit (EBITDA) dropped 4.8 percent to 321.2 million euros ($414.9 million), below the average of 329 million in a Reuters poll.

SES earned 32 million euros in the first three months of 2012 from analogue broadcasts to Germany, but these finished at the end of April last year. Broadcasters were already paying for digital transmissions.

Revenue fell in Europe by 6.2 percent, but rose by 8.2 percent excluding the effect of the digital switch-off, increased by a modest 0.5 percent in North America and was 5.4 percent higher elsewhere.

The company, which broadcasts 5,300 television channels from 52 satellites, retained its forecast that both revenue and core profit would rise by between 4 and 5 percent this year.

It said revenue growth should be greater in the second half of 2013. The year-on-year comparison from May should be healthier because the impact of the German analogue switch-off would end.

SES is also planning to launch four new satellites, bringing new capacity, from June to September. O3b Networks, in which SES has a 47 percent interest, would also launch its first four satellites in June and a second batch of four in September.

SES sees capital expenditure falling from an annual average of 700 million euros in 2011 through 2013 to a maximum of 450 million in 2014-2017 as satellite replacement tails off.

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