Satellites

AsiaSat sees positive outlook in India's 7.3% growth forecast

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MUMBAI: Asia Satellite Telecommunications Holdings Limited yesterday announced its 2016 annual results for the year ended 31 December 2016.

AsiaSat 9, a replacement for AsiaSat 4 and planned for launch in late 2017, will offer additional capacity serving new markets for Direct-to-Home (DTH), regional video distribution, private networks and broadband services.

AsiaSat 9 is expected to launch in late 2017. "We believe this satellite, which carries 28 C-band and 32 Ku-band transponders, along with a Ka-band payload is ideally positioned to exploit the growth in both HD and Ultra HD (UHD) video content and advanced broadband networks. AsiaSat 9 will be a replacement for AsiaSat 4 at 122 degrees East with additional capacity delivering enhanced power and greater coverage for Direct-to-Home (DTH), regional video distribution, private networks and broadband services within our footprint running from New Zealand to the Middle East," AsiaSat stated in its annual results statement.

?With regional economic prospects as estimated by the [International Monetary Fund], World Bank and [Economist Intelligence Unit] that range from 6.8% [gross domestic product] growth for China in 2017, 7.3% for India and forecasts that hover around 6% for the majority of South and Southeast Asia (with Myanmar outstanding at 8.5%), as an innovative service provider AsiaSat has a positive commercial outlook despite the short-term negatives such as the current capacity over-supply.?

Financial Highlights:

2016 revenue of HK$1,272 million, down 3% compared to 2015 primarily due to reduced short-term revenue from AsiaSat 3S. If excluding the short-term non-recurring AsiaSat 3S revenue, revenue grew by about 3% 2016 profit attributable to owners maintained at HK$430 million (2015: HK$440 million), as a result of lower income tax charges following the reversal of a provision made in previous years Combined new and renewed contracts during the year valued at HK$1,870 million (2015: HK$1,310 million). As at 31 December 2016, the value of contracts on hand increased by 16% to HK$4,067 million (2015: HK$3,517 million). Proposed final dividend of HK$0.20 per share

Operational Highlights:
Utilisation of AsiaSat 4, AsiaSat 5, AsiaSat 6 and AsiaSat 7 as of 31 December 2016 stood at 67% (99 transponders utilised), with AsiaSat 8?s entire Ku-band payload fully leased at 4 degrees West and AsiaSat 3S operating in inclined orbit to provide service in Asia.

The acquisition of new customer Shanghai Interactive Television (SiTV) on AsiaSat 6 marked AsiaSat?s re-entry into the China video market through establishing a high value platform to support the development of High Definition (HD) broadcasting in China.

Continued to lead the industry in advanced technology through advocating Ultra HD (UHD) broadcasting in Asia with its free-to-air UHD channel ?4K-SAT? on AsiaSat 4, and evaluating opportunities to develop its High Throughput Satellite (HTS) Ka-band capabilities.

AsiaSat?s Chairman, JU Wei Min, said, ?In the coming year, the Board of Directors is cautiously optimistic on the economic prospects for the region, which, despite relatively flat indicators for some markets continues to invest in new telecommunications and media infrastructure, as well as renewing and updating existing facilities. New DTH platforms focused on smaller emerging markets remain attractive, especially given the need for relevant local-language services.?

?In order to address the ever-increasing, long-term demand for new data transmission capacity AsiaSat will continue to evaluate opportunities to develop its HTS Ka-band capabilities, carefully monitoring and benefiting from the technical and commercial progress of deployments of IoT, UHD and other consumer driven services,? JU added.

JU Wei Min stated: "In 2016, AsiaSat laid the groundwork for the prospect of improved revenues in 2017 as we move into a period of more efficient use of satellite bandwidth and increasing demand for media and data services across Asia. Although disappointing, this year?s outcome should be viewed against a backdrop of globally unstable market conditions and the impact of disruptive new technologies."

"The market instability resulted from a global oversupply of satellite capacity of all kinds and generally uncertain economic conditions. We recognise the need to continue to manage closely the pricing pressures on data services as well as compression improvements for video distribution which to some extent neutralise the benefits of the increased demand generated by mobility applications and video format upgrades."

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