Asiasat reports marginal decline in turnover

MUMBAI: Satellite operator Asia Satellite Telecommunications Holdings Limited (AsiaSat) has announced financial results for the year ending 31December 2002. It has reported a turnover of HK$951million which is a two per cent decline from the previous year.

According to an official statement, the operational highlights included:

- AsiaSat's in-orbit satellites continue to operate well. Transponder utilisation rates: 36 MHz C-band at 78 per cent and overall at 64 per cent at year end, even in a highly competitive and weak market

- The launch of AsiaSat 4 is imminent. It is anticipated to be in its final position of 122 degrees east by end of next month. It will be launched on an Atlas IIIB rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The satellite successfully completed all its testing by mid-February 2003, prior to its shipment from Boeing's manufacturing plant in Los Angeles, California, to its launch site.

- New Tai Po Earth Station on schedule for operation in the second half of 2003.

AsiaSat chairman Mi Zengxin, was quoted as saying: "The future for AsiaSat in the region is bright, and for this reason we will remain focused on broadcast, rather than point-to-point, communications. Set against this positive background; with an increased client base; a new Earth Station; a new satellite; and no debt, AsiaSat is poised to grow as the region recovers. It has been difficult to achieve growth in the prevailing economic climate."

"However, our strategy, to expand through organic growth, and growth through acquisition and partnerships, remains unchanged. The company is financially robust and is well positioned to consider and seize any opportunities that arise, and to move ahead as soon as the economy recovers," Mi Zengxin added.

Mi also said: "Global trends show that, despite continually falling cable prices, demand for satellite capacity used for private multi-point networks continues to rise, and we believe that this will remain the case in Asia Pacific. "

The group continued to benefit from strong cash flow from its operations, and generated a net cash inflow of HK$270 million (2001: HK$27 million) after paying capital expenditure of HK$449 million (2001: HK$607 million). At the end of 2002, the group was debt free, states the release.

Upon completion of AsiaSat 4, the company will have incurred a total cost of approximately HK$1,747 million (US$224 million), including the insurance premium.

AsiaSat has stated that its proposed earth station reinforces the commitment to customers to provide the highest quality signals combined with unmatched reliability. The Earth Station will duplicate many of the circuits and facilities currently provided by the Stanley Earth Station, thereby significantly increasing the integrity of AsiaSat's services.

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