SES sees earnings growth acceleration in 2014

BRUSSELS Fri Feb 21, 2014 2:04am EST

BRUSSELS Feb 21 (Reuters) - SES , one of the world's largest commercial satellite operators, forecast accelerating growth of revenue and profit in 2014 as a number of recently launched satellites start earning money.

The company, which broadcasts over 6,200 television channels from 55 satellites, said on Friday that it expected both revenue and core profit (EBITDA) to rise by between 6 and 7 percent this year at constant foreign exchange rates and same scope.

Last year those figures rose by 3.4 and 2.8 percent respectively, in line with guidance the company had given.

SES, which sells transmission capacity to the likes of BSkyB , Echostar and India's Dish TV, launched three new satellites last year, although two of them did face delays.

It plans a further two launches in the first half of this year.

The company reported fourth-quarter revenues of 484.3 million euros ($664.10 million) and core profit of 355.4 million euros, close to the corresponding average forecasts in a Reuters poll of 485 million euros and 359 million euros.

Earnings last year were capped by the ending in April of analogue broadcasts to Germany. This service brought in 42.6 million euros in the first four months of 2012. Broadcasters were already paying for digital transmissions.

O3b Networks, in which SES has a 47 percent interest, also launched its first four satellites for broadband Internet services in June. Two further batches of four were due for launch in 2014.

After the replacement of certain satellites, SES sees capital expenditure falling from 835 million euros in 2011 through 419 million euros last year to an annual average of 450 million in 2015-2018.

SES also said on Friday that it would pay a dividend of 1.07 euros per share, up from 0.97 euros. ($1 = 0.7293 euros) (Reporting By Philip Blenkinsop)

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