Panamsat reports rise in revenue for Q1 2004

MUMBAI: Satellite operator Panamsat has reported financial results for the first quarter ended 31 March 2004. Total revenues increased to $205.4 million compared to $199.8 million for the previous quarter.

The company also ended the first quarter of the year with a cash balance of $612 million versus $511 million at the end of last year, even after paying down $850 million in debt last year.

The company's president and CEO Joe Wright was quoted in a company release saying, "Despite this weak market, we continued to deliver strong cash flow and profitability. Our reported financials were affected by an unusual non-cash charge that was due to an impairment loss on one of our in-orbit international spares, Pas-6, after the March 2004 failure of the satellites power system.

"There were no customers on this satellite and thus there has been no impact on our revenues. During the quarter, we launched the first high-definition (HD) neighborhood on Galaxy 13 and signed one of the largest contracts in our history with the Fox Entertainment Group. As a result,Panamsat has the industrys leading HD satellite neighborhoods with such powerhouses as Bravo HD+, Cinemax HD, ESPN HD, HBO HD.

"In fact, every major cable movie network is leveraging the power of the Galaxy fleet to launch their HD services. With more than 2,100 cable and broadcast channels already coming through our network, it is easy to see why the major programmers come to us to deliver their content."

As reported last month by , Panamsat and its 80.5 per cent stakeholder The Directv Group signed a definitive transaction agreement with the affiliates of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR). As per this, Panamsat will be sold at $23.50 in cash per share. The aggregate transaction value, including the expected assumption of approximately $750 million of net debt is around $4.3 billion.The deal which has to pass through regulatory approvals including the Federal Communications Commission and Panamsat's shareholders is expected to be completed in the second half of the year.

Wright added, "For the past three years we have focused on improving the fundamentals of our business and we are now ready for growth. Over the course of the next several years, we will launch two more satellites to expand our HD offering and continue to develop our services to the US Government, which is the single largest user of FSS services in the world."

"We will also continue to bring satellite-based products and services to market in partnership with our customers. Recently, we launched PasPort, our global hybrid satellite and fiber network as well as several new products under our Panamsat on demand brand. These include QuickSpot. This is a family of auto-acquisition satellite terminals. We are also co- marketing with BT SatNet, Skip Broadband Services and others. As we move ahead, we will continue to focus on the delivery of strong financial results while maintaining our leadership in the delivery of advanced digital applications in the air and on the ground."


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