In its 2020-19 annual financial report released on Friday, the Euronext Paris publicly-traded company said its total revenue for the fiscal year under review stood at 1.278 billion euros, down 3.2% from the previous year.
Commenting on the full-year results, Rodolphe Belmer Chief Executive Officer of Eutelsat Communications, said: “Eutelsat has produced a robust set of results for Financial Year 2019-20 in the face of the Covid-19 headwinds, with a record level of Discretionary Free Cash Flow and an EBITDA margin that remains industry leading. Our core Broadcast business remains resilient, as demonstrated by the securing of a number of new contracts in Sub-Saharan Africa, notably with Canal+ Ethiopia.”
“We have also made significant headway in our Fixed Broadband strategy ahead of entry into service of EUTELSAT KONNECT. In Europe, a major wholesale agreement has been signed with Orange for the entire French capacity of EUTELSAT KONNECT and we are adding a retail pillar to our distribution strategy with the acquisition of the European satellite broadband activities of Bigblu Broadband, the leading distributor of satellite Broadband in Europe. In Africa, the Schoolap project in DRC highlights the opportunities in the business-to-government vertical.”
Although Eutelsat’s total revenue across all geographical market declined by 3.2% in FY 2019-20, the company recorded a 4.6% revenue increase in Africa from the 93.9 million euros reported in the previous year.
Eutelsat saw dynamic commercial activity in Sub-Saharan Africa, primarily driven by growing demand in broadcast, government and fixed broadband services.
“On the commercial front, the past year saw dynamic commercial activity in Sub-Saharan Africa with the addition of new platforms such as Ghana RCS, Africa XP and Strong Roots as well as the signature of an anchor deal with Canal+ in Ethiopia at 7°East, preparing the ground for future growth across this region,” the company notes in its earnings report.
With Broadcast accounting for 61% of its overall revenue, Eutelsat highlighted its multi-year multi-transponder contract with Canal+ Ethiopia on EUTELSAT 7C, which the Group says reflects the dynamism of the African DTH market.
Eutelsat is optimistic about its Fixed Broadband business segment in FY 2020-21 owning to the growing demand for high quality, ubiquitous and reliable internet connectivity heralded by the Covid19 pandemic. The company is bullish that the entry into service of its Africa-focused KONNECT satellite that provides connectivity for 40 African and 15 European countries will mark a turning point for its Fixed Broadband business segment in the coming year.
Even though overall Broadcast revenues are expected to decline slightly in FY 2020-21, Eutelsat expects that revenue from Broadcast in Africa will continue to grow due to its existing portfolio of in-orbit assets focused on the continent.
Joseph Ibeh is a Mandela Washington Fellow and Senior Analyst at Space in Africa. His experience spans industry research and market analysis with a focus on African-grown NewSpace companies, commercial space industry, national space programmes and real-life application of space science for sustainable development in Africa.