Satellite firm SES lifts full-year outlook after first-half beat

·2 min read

(Reuters) - Satellite company SES nudged upwards on Wednesday the lower end of its core profit guidance for 2021, as a slowing decline in its video broadcasting business helped beat analysts' expectations for the first half.

The group, one of the world's biggest commercial satellite operators, now expects adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of between 1.08 billion-1.10 billion euros ($1.28 billion-$1.31 billion) this year, excluding expenses linked to restructuring and its clearing of U.S. C-Band spectrum.

This compares with the prior guidance of 1.06 billion-1.10 billion euros.

"The lasting value of our video business is reflected in the improved trajectory, the important long-term renewals at our core neighbourhoods, increased penetration of HD TV channels, and new paying subscribers for HD+ in Germany," Chief Executive Officer Steve Collar said in a statement.

SES's core video business, which distributes TV channels such as Sky, Canal+, ARD, and NBC to households, saw a slower-than-expected drop of almost 4% in first-half revenue as clients continued to cut costs, albeit at a slower pace than last year.

Satellite operators have struggled during the pandemic as major broadcasting events were postponed or cancelled and streaming platforms such as Netflix grew their following, while supply chain disruptions also pushed back new launches.

Revenue from SES's smaller networks division also fell slightly, in line with expectations, as pandemic-related travel restrictions continued to stunt demand for connectivity on commercial planes and cruise lines.

The Luxembourg-based company's total sales fell 3% in the first six months of 2021, bringing its adjusted EBITDA down to 544 million euros from 582 million euros a year earlier, still beating analysts' average estimate of 530.6 million euros.

($1 = 0.8424 euros)

(Reporting by Sarah Morland and Anait Miridzhanian in Gdansk; Editing by Ramakrishnan M. and Subhranshu Sahu)

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