Asiasat sees HK $475 million sales till 30 June '06

MUMBAI: Asian satellite communications provider Asiasat has announced interim results for the six months ended 30 June 2006.

It managed sales of HK $475 million which represents a rise of seven per cent.

Profit attributable to equity holders HK$239 million a rise of 29 per cent. Overall utilisation rate up four per cent despite overcapacity in many Asian markets. During this period it expanded blue-chip customer base with long-term contracts. It started the process of construction of Asiasat 5 in May.

Turnover for the first half of 2006 was HK $475 million including a one-time receipt of HK $46 million for early termination of a contract, an increase of HK $30 million. As of 30 June 2006, the Group held contracts worth HK $2,785 million , of which approximately HK $381 million will be recognised in the second half of the current year.

Despite the slow market, Asiasat says that it has been able to make a number of improvements and maintain its backlog level.

Asiasat chairman Romain Bausch said, “Despite some encouraging signs, there is little evidence emerging to indicate that these will make significant changes to Asiasat’s results for the second half of 2006.

"Thus, it is unlikely that the results for the full year will be materially different from those of the prior year. However, the group is in excellent shape and is making solid progress wherever possible in the development of our customer products and services, particularly with the contracting of our new satellite. As the market leader in the region, we recognise our role in setting the standards for quality and service and we remain optimistic about future growth. Asiasat’s reputation for excellence and its market leadership position the company well for the future.

"The economic improvements that we have noted in recent reports continue to be evident in the Asia-Pacific region. However, the persistent overcapacity present in many markets across the region is still holding down transponder rates and causing the satellite market to remain stubbornly flat. As a result, despite an increase in demand in our business and a concerted effort to capitalise on opportunities, little positive impact has come through in the results for the first six months of 2006.

"In these circumstances and with a view to the longer term, it is pleasing that I am able to report that, following the 18 per cent increase in our overall utilisation rate during last year’s difficult market, we achieved a further four per cent increase in the first half of 2006. This is an encouraging improvement amidst otherwise unimpressive results.

"Asiasat, however, continues to attract and maintain an enviable blue-chip customer base with long-term contracts. The company is also debt free and has no need to make any provisions for doubtful debts in the period under review. Looking at the longer term, our confidence in a bright future for satellites in the Asia Pacific is unchanged, as is our belief in Asiasat’s potential to benefit from this in due course. For these reasons, we continue to focus on our customers and on enhancing our products and services so as to further consolidate our market leadership and be ready for the next growth phase.

"Underlining our continued confidence in the future of the Group, in May this year we announced the signing of the construction agreement to design and build AsiaSat 5, and we also announced its Launch contract. This new satellite, a replacement for Asiasat 2, is scheduled for launch in the second half of 2008," said Bausch.

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