Television

Panamsat reports four per cent revenue growth

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MUMBAI: Global satellite service provider Panamsat has reported financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended 31 December, 2005

For the year, total consolidated revenues of $861. million increased by 4.1 per cent from 2004 while video services revenues grew by 7.3 per cent over 2004. This year was significant as the company was acquired by Intelsat for $3.2 billion.

The company paid down $676 million of long-term debt and paid out $300.3 million of dividends to shareholders as a result of strong financial results and a successful IPO. The company also achieved a year end 2005 cash balance of $126.3 million compared to $39 million at year end 2004.

Total revenues for the fourth quarter of 2005 were $229.2 million, compared to revenues of $207.7 million for the same quarter last year, an increase of 10.4 per cent.

Panamsat CEO Joe Wright said, "Panamsat finished the year in an extremely strong position as we completed one of the most successful years in the company's history. Our management team has now met or exceeded guidance for four years in a row while also continuing to increase our revenues and profitability. The utilisation on our satellite

fleet increased to 73 per cent compared to an industry average of less than 60 per cent, while our fleet reliability remained at an industry high of 99.9 per cent.

"Equally as important as our strong financial results, we made real progress in the three major strategic areas that we identified early last year for future growth: 1) High Definition video in North America and expansion of Direct-to-Home (DTH) video services in international markets. 2) satellite-based connectivity in rural America and remote regions of the world and 3) servicing the U.S. Government. We capped off the year with an agreement to merge with Intelsat.
"In the first strategic area of video expansion, we expanded our industry leading HD

neighborhood in the U.S. on Galaxy 13 by signing a multiple year, multiple transponder contract with HDNet as well as by adding new channels to the platform including the Outdoor Channel. In addition, to meet strong demand for Ku-band capacity in North America, we signed an agreement with JSat to co-develop the Ku-band Horizons-2 satellite for the US market, which will support expanded HDTV, digital video, and IP-based content distribution

networks to broadband Internet and satellite news gathering (SNG) services.

"We also launched Vis-a-TV, an ethnic programming service for the U.S. marketplace. Vis-a-TV represents a milestone for the industry as it is the first time an operator will partner with its customers to bring the world's programming to the U.S. Internationally, we developed the PanGlobal TV DTH

platform in Australia, which currently offers 25 different channels of ethnic programming content and will be duplicated in additional international markets, including New Zealand, this year.

"In our second strategic area, providing satellite-based connectivity to developing markets, several of our initiatives have already developed into real growth opportunities. In South Africa, we joined the Liberty Foundation and are providing over 1,000 schools with general curriculum and other teaching aids from Johannesburg. We are also using our satellites to provide health education to citizens across the country via a network of government healthcare clinics. In Mexico, we have joined with our partner Grupo Pegaso to expand satellite-based broadband services to government, enterprises and consumers.

"Our G2 Satellite Solutions unit, formed several years ago, also made significant progress during the year. This Panamsat subsidiary now accounts for nearly $90 million in annual revenues and is recognised as one of the

premier full-service total solutions providers to the U.S. Government. In 2005, the G2 team created a managed network solution specifically for the US government and its various agencies.

"The network uses high-powered Ku-band beams around the globe to deliver voice, data, video and Internet connectivity. At the end of 2005, this service was installed in over 300
locations and is projected to be the fastest growing part of the business. And, equally important, we were able to clearly demonstrate the value of our satellites in the case of emergencies such as Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. We were ready then and will be in the future to provide communications services in the event of an emergency, either natural or man-made," adds Wright.

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