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Eutelsat Communications : Full Year 2018-19 Results

July 31, 2019

The Board of Directors of Eutelsat Communications  chaired by Dominique D’Hinnin, reviewed the financial results for the year ended 30 June 2019.

Key Financial Data

FY 2017-18
restated

FY 2018-19

Change

P&L

 

 

 

Revenues - €m

1,390.5

1,321.1

-5.0%

“Operating Verticals” revenues - €m

1,343.9

1,313.1

-2.3%

“Operating Verticals” revenues at constant currency and perimeter - €m

1,330.0

1,288.7

-3.1%

EBITDA3 - €m

1,078.5

1,032.4

-4.3%

EBITDA margin - %

77.6

78.1

+0.5pts

EBITDA margin at constant currency - %

77.6

78.4

+0.8pts

Group share of net income - €m

291.6

340.4

+16.7%

Financial structure

 

 

 

Discretionary Free-Cash-Flow4 - €m

414.7

407.8

-1.7%

Discretionary Free-Cash-Flow as per financial objectives - €m

400.7

439.3

+9.6%

Net debt - €m

3,241.6

3,072.8

-€169m

Net debt/EBITDA - X

3.01

2.98

-0.03pts

Backlog – €bn

4.6

4.4

-4.9%

Rodolphe Belmer Chief Executive Officer of Eutelsat Communications, said: “On the operational front, the past year was notable once again for the resilience of core Broadcast, supported by rising channel count and HD penetration. The successful launch of EUTELSAT 7C will bring incremental capacity to the dynamic African market. In Fixed Broadband, our Konnect Africa operations are now up and running and our new distribution strategy in Europe is starting to bear fruit. In Mobile Connectivity, we have carved a strong foothold in the maritime segment with some major commercial wins.

In the context of a challenged operating environment which continues to weigh on the revenues of our core businesses, the effective execution of our financial strategy has enabled us once again to meet or exceed all our other financial objectives with, notably, a record level of EBITDA margin supported by the successful completion of our LEAP 1 cost-savings plan, and the attainment of our Net debt / EBITDA target. By leveraging all elements of cash-generation, we produced a further strong rise in Discretionary Free-Cash-Flow, enabling us to exceed our target a year early.

Our efforts remain focused on maximising cash generation, with the two recent successful bond issuances reducing interest by circa €34 million per annum, the reduction of over €70 million in our annual tax burden, and a follow-on cost-savings program aimed at generating additional savings of €20 to 25 million by FY 2021-22. We are setting a new Discretionary free cash flow target with an objective of circa €500 million in FY 2021-22, and enhancing our remuneration policy by maintaining our dividend at 1.27 euros per share and committing to a share buyback program of at least €100 million by end-June 22.”

EBITDA, EBITDA margin, Net debt / EBITDA ratio, Cash Capex and Discretionary Free-Cash-Flow are considered as Alternative Performance Indicators. See appendix 3 of this document for definition and calculation. Data at 30 June 2018 have been restated to reflect the retrospective adoption of IFRS 15 on 1 July 2018. The impact of the application of IFRS 15 is presented in the note 4 to the consolidated financial statements. The Group adopted IFRS 16 and IFRS 9 on 1 July 2018.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • With the exception of topline, all financial objectives set at the beginning of the year achieved or exceeded:
    • EBITDA margin of 78.4% at constant currency;
    • Cash Capex of €323 million, well within our €400 million envelope;
    • Discretionary Free-Cash-Flow up 10% at constant currency and excluding the EUTELSAT 25B disposal, coming on top of a 12% rise last year. Three-year objective of mid-single digit CAGR exceeded a year ahead of schedule;
    • Net debt / EBITDA target reached at 2.98x versus 3.01x a year ago.
  • Return to slight sequential progression for the Operating Vertical revenues in the Fourth Quarter.
  • Several operational achievements to underpin future performance:
    • Resilience of core Broadcast, supported by progression in channel count and HD penetration;
    • Several new DTH platforms added during the year;
    • Successful launch of EUTELSAT 7C, bringing incremental capacity to video markets in Africa;
    • Launch of Eutelsat CIRRUS hybrid satellite-OTT turnkey delivery solution;
    • Inflexion in European Broadband, with Preferred Partnership Programme starting to bear fruit;
    • Konnect Africa operations up and running with direct distribution in place in the Democratic Republic of Congo and extension to other countries planned in the near term;
    • Multi-year, multi-transponder commercial wins in maritime Mobility with Speedcast and Marlink.
  • Ongoing measures to maximise cash generation:
    • Two successful bond issuances reducing pre-tax cash interest by some €34 million per annum at run-rate and extending debt maturity;
    • Disposal of the interest in a non-core asset, EUTELSAT 25B for a consideration of €135 million;
    • Ongoing Capex optimization, with anticipated replacement of HOTBIRD constellation at significant cost reduction.
  • Reduction of €74 million in FY 2018-19 tax burden following the change in French tax territoriality treatment.
  • Completion of LEAP 1 cost-savings program with €32 million in opex savings against €30 million target; follow-on ‘LEAP 2’ program targeting further savings of €20 to 25 million by FY 2021-22.
  • New Discretionary free cash flow target of around €500 million5 in FY 2021-22.
  • Enhanced shareholder remuneration policy with a dividend maintained at 1.27 euros per share and the launch of a share buyback program of at least €100 million by end-June 22.

 

ANALYSIS OF REVENUES6

 

 

In € millions

 

FY 2017-18 restated

FY 2017-18
proforma7

FY 2018-19

reported

Actual change

Like-for-like
change8

Video Applications

884.4

870.5

864.2

-2.3%

-1.9%

Government Services

157.8

157.8

161.5

+2.3%

-1.5%

Fixed Data

143.0

143.0

126.7

-11.4%

-14.6%

Fixed Broadband

84.3

84.3

80.4

-4.6%

-5.6%

Mobile Connectivity

74.4

74.4

80.3

+7.9%

+4.0%

Total Operating Verticals

1,343.9

1,330.0

1,313.1

-2.3%

-3.1%

Other Revenues9

46.7

46.7

8.0

n/a

n/a

Total revenues

1,390.5

1,376.6

1,321.1

-5.0%

-4.2%

EUR/USD exchange rate

1.19

1.19

1.14

 

 

Total revenues for FY 2018-19 stood at €1,321 million down by 5.0%.

Revenues of the five Operating Verticals (ie, excluding ‘Other Revenues’) were down by 3.1% on a like-for-like basis excluding a negative perimeter effect of c.0.8 points (net effect of the disposal of the stake in EUTELSAT 25B and the acquisition of Noorsat) and a positive currency effect of c. 1.6 points.

Fourth Quarter revenues stood at €326 million, down 11.4%. Revenues of the five Operating Verticals stood at €328 million, down 3.5% year-on-year and up by 0.6% quarter-on-quarter on a like-for-like basis.

Unless otherwise stated, all variations indicated hereunder are on a like-for-like basis, ie, at constant currency and perimeter.

Core businesses

Video Applications (66% of revenues)

FY 2018-19 Video Applications revenues were down 1.9% like-for-like to €864 million. Core Broadcast revenues were broadly unchanged excluding the impact of the lower contribution of Fransat.

Professional Video, now accounting for 8% of total Video revenues, saw a double-digit decline in a context of sustained competitive pressure.

As of FY 2019-20, Professional Video revenues will be reported under the Fixed Data application and Broadcast will be reported on a standalone basis.

Fourth Quarter revenues stood at €217 million, down by 1.1% year-on-year but slightly up (+0.3%) on a quarter-on-quarter basis.

At 30 June 2019, the total number of channels broadcast by Eutelsat satellites stood at 7,092 up 2.4% year-on-year (+3.9% excluding the disposal of EUTELSAT 25B). HD penetration continued to increase, standing at 1,551 channels versus 1,455 a year earlier (+6.6%), implying a penetration rate of 21.9% compared to 21.0% a year earlier.

The EUTELSAT 7C satellite was successfully launched on 20 June 2019 and is expected to enter into service at the end of calendar year 2019, bringing incremental capacity to the Video market in Africa.

Government Services (12% of revenues)

FY 2018-19 Government Services revenues stood at €162 million, down 1.5% on a like-for-like basis. This reflected on one hand incremental business secured last year over Asia-Pacific at the 174°East orbital position, and on the other a low level of renewals with the US Government during the fiscal year, in particular in the Fall 2018 campaign.

Fourth Quarter revenues stood at €40 million, down 7.9% on a year-on-year basis, and by 1.5% quarter-on-quarter.

In FY 2019-20, Government Services revenues will benefit from the contribution of the EGNOS payload on the EUTELSAT 5 WEST B satellite. On the other hand, a delay in the launch of EUTELSAT QUANTUM means it will not contribute to revenues in the coming year.

Fixed Data (10% of revenues)

FY 2018-19 Fixed Data revenues stood at €127 million, down 14.6% like-for-like. This reflected ongoing pricing pressure in a highly competitive environment as well as softer volumes in Latin America.

Fourth Quarter revenues amounted to €30 million, down 16.4% on a year-on-year basis, and by 1.4% quarter-on-quarter.

From FY 2019-20 Fixed Data will be known as ‘Data and Professional Video’. This vertical is expected to continue to decline in the coming year.

Connectivity

Fixed Broadband (6% of revenues)

FY 2018-19 Fixed Broadband revenues stood at €80 million, down 5.6% like-for-like. Excluding the expiry of a contract for a spotbeam on EUTELSAT 3B (re-contracted to Taqnia in the Mobile Connectivity vertical), the underlying performance was -3.5%. It reflected a decline in European Broadband, albeit with signs of an improving trend in the Fourth quarter with a positive inflexion in net subscriber adds following the implementation of the Preferred Partnership Programme (PPP).

Revenues for Konnect Africa were modest following temporary and unconnected roll-out issues in several countries.

Fourth quarter revenues stood at €21 million, down 1.3% on a year-on-year basis, and up by 8.8% quarter-on-quarter.

With the direct distribution model now in place in DRC and the strong market potential confirmed, conditions are met for a progressive revenue ramp-up in FY 2019-20 for Konnect Africa, while European Broadband should also see an improved trend with the continued roll-out of the PPP.

Mobile Connectivity (6% of revenues)

FY 2018-19 Mobile Connectivity revenues stood at €80 million, up 4.0% like-for-like. They reflected the start of the UnicomAirNet contract on EUTELSAT 172B, the carry-forward effect of the contract with Taqnia at 3°East and 70°East and the ongoing ramp-up of contracts on KA-SAT, more than offsetting the end of a temporary wide-beam contract on EUTELSAT 172B.

Fourth quarter revenues stood at €21 million, down 1.7% on a year-on-year basis (with the contract with Taqnia now included in the comparison basis), and up by 2.2% quarter-on-quarter.

In FY 2019-20, Mobile Connectivity will benefit from the full-year contribution of the UnicomAirNet contract as well as the contracts signed this year with Speedcast and Marlink in maritime Mobility.

Other Revenues

Other Revenues for FY 2018-19 amounted to €8 million versus €47 million a year earlier. They included a negative (€20) million impact from hedging operations.

OPERATIONAL AND UTILIZED TRANSPONDERS

The number of operational transponders at 30 June 2019 stood at 1,387 down by 40 units year-on-year, principally reflecting the disposal of EUTELSAT 25B and the end of life in stable orbit of Eutelsat 12 West B (satellites in inclined orbit are not included in the transponder count).

The number of utilized transponders stood at 960, down 11 units year-on-year on a reported basis and down three units excluding the disposal of EUTELSAT 25B, with the end of life in stable orbit of EUTELSAT 12 WEST B being almost offset by the ramp-up of maritime business.

As a result the fill rate stood at 69.2% compared to 68.1% a year ago.

 

30 June 2018

30 June 2019

Operational transponders10

1,427

1,387

Utilized transponders11

971

960

Fill rate

68.1%

69.2%

Note: Based on 36 MHz-equivalent transponders excluding high throughput capacity

BACKLOG

At 30 June 2019, the backlog stood at €4.4 billion, down 4.9% compared to 30 June 2018. This reflected notably the negative impact of the disposal of EUTELSAT 25B and the adoption of IFRS 15 as well as natural backlog consumption in the absence of material Video renewals, which more than offset the inclusion of future revenues related to commitments from Orange and Thales on KONNECT VHTS as well as the new maritime contracts.

The backlog was equivalent to 3.3 times 2018-19 revenues, with Video representing 75%.

 

30 June 2018

30 June 2019

Value of contracts (in billions of euros)

4.6

4.4

In years of annual revenues based on last fiscal year

3.2

3.3

Share of Video

83%

75%

Note: The backlog represents future revenues from capacity or service agreements and can include contracts for satellites under procurement.

PROFITABILITY

EBITDA stood at €1,032 million (€1,078 million at 30 June 2018), down 4.3%.

The LEAP 1 cost savings plan delivered above target, generating €32 million in aggregated savings.

As a result, despite lower reported revenues and the costs related to the Konnect Africa project, the EBITDA margin showed further improvement, reaching 78.4% at constant rate (78.1% on a reported basis), compared to 77.6% last year.

Group share of net income stood at €340 million versus €292 million in 2017-18, an increase of 16.7%. The net margin stood at 26% (versus 21% last year). This reflected mainly:

  • Slightly higher depreciation and amortisation ((€519) million at 30 June 2019 compared with (€506) million a year earlier) notably on the back of IFRS 16 and a negative currency impact;
  • Other operating income’ of +€13 million, reflecting principally the capital gain on the disposal of the interest in EUTELSAT 25B (+€47 million) as well as asset impairments (with a (€32) million impact), compared with (€19) million a year ago which included the one-off accounting impact of the integration of Noorsat;
  • A net financial result of (€92) million (versus (€105) million a year earlier), mainly reflecting the evolution of foreign exchange gains and losses, higher capitalized interest and the positive impact of the refinancing of the bond redeemed in January 2019;
  • A tax rate of 18% (versus 32% last year) which reflects the full impact of the change in rules relating to the territoriality treatment of corporate tax applicable to satellite telecommunications operators.

CASH FLOW

Net cash flow from operating activities amounted to €848 million, €33 million lower than last year. This reflected principally the decrease in EBITDA, the negative impact of the disposal of EUTELSAT 25B and the positive effect of the above-mentioned change in tax regime, although the latter was not fully captured in cash-tax.

Cash Capex amounted to €323 million (€35 million less than last year), well within the announced Capex envelope.

Interest and other fees paid net of interest received amounted to €117 million versus €108 million last year.

As a result, Discretionary Free Cash-Flow amounted to €408 million on a reported basis. At constant currency and excluding the impact of the disposal of EUTELSAT 25B, it stood at €439 million, up €39 million or 9.6%.

This rise comes on top of an increase of 12% (at constant currency) last year, implying that our three-year objective of mid-single digit CAGR has been overachieved a year ahead of schedule.

FINANCIAL STRUCTURE

At 30 June 2019 net debt stood at €3,073 million, down €169 million versus end-June 2018. Discretionary free cash-flow more than covered the dividend payment (€310 million including dividends paid to minority interests). Other variations included, on one hand, the first half of the consideration for EUTELSAT 25B (€68 million) and the reduction of debt related to repayments of finance leases and export credit financing (€112 million), and on the other, the impact of IFRS 16 for €44 million, changes in the foreign exchange portion of the cross-currency swap (which inflated net debt by €14 million) as well as other items for €51 million mostly related to financial instruments.

The net debt to EBITDA ratio stood at 2.98 times (3.01 times as of end June 2018).

The average cost of debt after hedging stood at 2.6% (2.9% in FY 2017-18). The weighted average maturity of the Group’s debt stood at 3.6 years (4.7 years excluding the January 2020 €930 million Bond), compared to 2.2 years at end-June 2018.

Liquidity remained strong, with undrawn credit lines of €850 million and cash of €525 million on top of the €930 million earmarked for the redemption of the upcoming Bond maturity.

During the financial year, the group undertook two successful bond issues:

  • An €800 million 2.0 percent Eurobond issue with a 7-year maturity, enabling the full redemption of the €800 million outstanding bonds bearing a 5.0 percent coupon maturing in January 2019. This transaction will reduce pre-tax cash interest by some €24 million on an annualized basis from FY 2019-20;
  • A €600 million 2.25 percent Eurobond issue with an 8-year maturity, enabling the full redemption of the €930 million outstanding bonds bearing a 2.625 percent coupon maturing in January 2020. This transaction will reduce pre-tax cash interest by some €10 million on an annualized basis from FY 2020-21.

DIVIDEND

On 30 July 2019 the Board of Directors agreed to recommend to the Annual Meeting of Shareholders on 7 November 2019 a dividend of €1.27 per share, stable versus last year, in line with the Group’s commitment to serving a stable to progressive dividend.

The dividend will be paid on 25 November 2019, subject to the vote of the Annual Meeting of Shareholders.

OUTLOOK AND FINANCIAL TARGETS

Going into 2019-20, revenues will benefit from several tailwinds, notably:

  • In Video, the entry into service of EUTELSAT 7C, bringing incremental capacity in Africa and the resilience of the core Broadcast Direct-to-Home business;
  • In Fixed Broadband, the ramp-up of the Konnect Africa operations and the benefits of the PPP in Europe;
  • In Mobile connectivity, the benefit of contract wins in Maritime and the full-year impact of the UnicomAirNet contract on EUTELSAT 172B;
  • In Government Services, the entry into service of the EGNOS payload on Eutelsat 5 WEST B.

On the other hand, a delay in the launch of EUTELSAT QUANTUM (now expected in the third quarter of calendar year 2020) means this satellite will not contribute to revenues in the coming year, while the topline of Professional Video and Fixed Data will remain under pressure.

In this context, we expect revenues for the Operating Verticals of between €1,280 million and €1,320 million in FY 2019-2012. Given the elements listed above, the revenue profile will be back-end loaded.

Future revenues will benefit from the entry into service of Eutelsat Quantum, KONNECT and KONNECT VHTS, with an improving trend in the outer years.

Cash Capex13 will continue to be contained at an average of €400 million per annum for the period July 2019 to June 2022.

The Group continues to leverage all measures at its disposal to maximise cash generation, which will benefit from the full impact of the achievements of the past year, notably in terms of debt refinancing and reduction of the tax expense. The LEAP 1 programme which was completed in June 2019 with opex savings of €32 million will be followed with a new plan, LEAP 2, aimed at generating a further €20 to 25 million in savings by June 2022.

In this context we are setting a new objective of delivering discretionary free cash flow of circa €500 million14 in FY 2021-22.

The Group remains committed to maintaining a sound financial structure to support its investment grade credit rating with a net debt / EBITDA ratio below 3.0x. At the same time we will continue to serve a stable to progressive dividend, and we will also repurchase at least €100 million of our shares by end-June 2022 commencing in the second half of FY 2019-2015.

Financial targets are based on the nominal deployment plan outlined hereunder.

FLEET DEPLOYMENT

Nominal deployment programme

Satellite1

Orbital

position

Estimated launch
(calendar year)

Main

applications

Main geographic

coverage

Physical

Transponders/
Spot beams

36 MHz-equivalent

transponders /

Spot beams

Of which expansion

EUTELSAT 5 WEST B

5° West

Q4 2019

Video

Europe, MENA

35 Ku

35 Ku

None

KONNECT

To be

confirmed

Q4 2019

Connectivity

Africa

Europe

65 spot beams

75 Gbps

75 Gbps

EUTELSAT QUANTUM

To be

confirmed

Q3 2020

Government Services

Flexible

8 “QUANTUM”

beams

Not applicable

Not applicable

KONNECT VHTS

To be

confirmed

H2 2021

Connectivity

Government Services

Europe

~230 spot beams

500 Gbps

500 Gbps

EUTELSAT HOTBIRD 13F

13° East

H2 2021

Video

Europe

MENA

80 Ku2

73 Ku2

None

EUTELSAT HOTBIRD 13G

13° East

H2 2021

Video

Europe

MENA

80 Ku2

73 Ku2

None

1 Chemical propulsion satellites (EUTELSAT QUANTUM, EUTELSAT 5 West B) generally enter into service 1 to 2 months after launch. Electric propulsion satellites (KONNECT, KONNECT VHTS, EUTELSAT HOTBIRD 13F and EUTELSAT HOTBIRD 13G) between 4 and 6 months.

2 Nominal capacity corresponding to the specifications of the satellites. Total operational capacity at the HOTBIRD orbital position will remain unchanged with 102 physical transponders (95 36 Mhz equivalent transponders) operated, once regulatory, technical and operational constraints are taken into account.

Since the last quarterly update in May 2019:

  • The launch of EUTELSAT QUANTUM is now expected in Q3 2020, versus H2 2019 previously;
  • The launch of EUTELSAT 5 West B is now expected in Q4 2019 versus Q3 2019 previously.

Changes in the fleet since 30 June 2018

  • Eutelsat sold its interest in the EUTELSAT 25B satellite to the co-owner of the satellite, Es’hailSat.
  • The Al Yah 3 satellite started operations.
  • EUTELSAT 33C was relocated to 133°West and renamed EUTELSAT 133 WEST A.
  • EUTELSAT 59A reached the end of its operational life and was de-orbited.
  • EUTELSAT 12 West B now operates in inclined orbit.
  • EUTELSAT 70C has been relocated at 48°East and renamed EUTELSAT 48E.
  • EUTELSAT 7C has been launched on 20 June 2019. It is due to enter into commercial service at the end of calendar year 2019.

CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

The Board of 30 July 2019 proposed, amongst others, the following resolutions to be submitted to the vote of shareholders at the Annual General Meeting of 7 November 2019:

  • Approval of the accounts;
  • Dividend relating to Financial Year 2018-2019;
  • Renewal of the mandate of Ana Garcia Fau;
  • The appointment of Cynthia Gordon as a Board member;
  • Compensation of corporate officers and compensation policy.

Furthermore, Carole Piwnica will step down from the Board following the upcoming AGM and the mandates of Jean d’Arthuys and Lord Birt will not be renewed.

Following the next Annual General Meeting and subject to the approval of the above-mentioned resolutions, the Board will be composed of 10 members, 50% of whom are women and 70% of whom are independent.