The publicly-traded Egyptian Satellite Co SAE (EGSA), commonly known as Nilesat, has recorded another low for the 2019 fiscal year which ended on 12 December 2019.
The satellite operator raked in USD 130.7 million for the fiscal year under review, about 10% decline from the USD 145.1 million recorded in 2018.
According to the company’s unaudited financials published by Reuters, the North African and Middle East-focused satellite operator made USD 42.5 million in net profit after tax within the year under review, indicating over 20% decline from USD 53.5 million made in 2018.
Nilesat started 2019 on a high with its stock price rising from USD 6.2 per share at the beginning of the year to USD 7.1 on 24 February before a steep decline to USD 5.39 on 9 March. The year was a turbulent year for the revered African satellite operator that launched the continent’s first satellite in 1998.
In what may appear as a year-on-year dip, Nilesat slipped from almost USD 200 million annual revenue in 2014 to USD 130.7 million in 2019, the lowest the company has recorded since the steady decline.
With a focus on North Africa and the Middle East, Nilesat is facing challenges as a result of tough regional and international competitions, rapidly evolving technologies and macroeconomic factors. The satellite operator currently owns Nilesat 201 satellite which fully covers East Africa and the MENA region including the Gulf region and Sudan. Nilesat also leased capacity from French satellite operator Eutelsat for Nilesat 102 and Nilesat 104 satellites stationed at 7 and 8 degrees West, respectively.
NileSat’s leadership is relentless in salvaging the company’s steady fall in revenue which has been attributed to limited capacity, rapidly evolving market dynamics and technologies, and tough competition from global and regional operators with larger fleets of satellites.
As part of its capacity expansion plans, Nilesat recently signed a contract with French aerospace giant Thales Alenia Space for the manufacture of a new communications satellite named NileSat 301. When in orbit, NileSat 301, which will be based on Thales Alenia’s latest satcom technologies, will boost NileSat’s capacity and enable the company to become more competitive in the market.
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.