Options to place satellite in proper orbit not viable
Betzdorf, Luxembourg – April 11th, 2008 – SES S.A. (Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG) today announced that SES AMERICOM, its North American subsidiary, has declared to insurers that its recently launched satellite – AMC-14 – is now considered a total loss, due to a lack of viable options to reposition the satellite to its proper geostationary orbit.
“SES and Lockheed Martin have carefully examined all the available options for repositioning this satellite into its intended geostationary orbit,” said Edward Horowitz, President and CEO of SES AMERICOM. “Unfortunately, none of those options would allow effective use of the spacecraft. The various repositioning scenarios presented carry unacceptable risks, and would result in a severely shortened life of the satellite. Therefore, we have no choice but to claim a total loss of the satellite with our insurers.”
AMC-14 was built by Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems, and launched on a Proton/Breeze M rocket provided by ILS (International Launch Services) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The launch of AMC-14 failed on March 15 when an anomaly during the second burn of the fourth stage of the rocket resulted in the satellite being placed short of the planned geostationary transfer orbit. While an initial assessment of the available options to reposition the satellite appeared encouraging, more detailed examinations by SES and Lockheed Martin engineers determined that the various scenarios could not provide a reasonable chance of success.
Mark Rigolle, Chief Financial Officer of SES commented: “The loss of any satellite is a disappointment, and the failure of AMC-14 means there will be no revenues to come from this programme. However, SES is fully insured for its investment, and there will be no negative P&L impact from the accelerated writedown of AMC-14. We expect to receive the insurance proceeds of approximately USD 150 million in the next few months, thereby enhancing our cash position. The rest of our business in North America and worldwide has no connection with, and is unaffected by, this launch failure.”
While AMC-14 is currently in a stable orbit, SES is exploring plans to retire the satellite.
SES (Euronext Paris, Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG) wholly owns three market-leading satellite operators, SES ASTRA in Europe, SES AMERICOM in North America and SES NEW SKIES, which provides global coverage and connectivity. The Company also holds 90% of SES SIRIUS in Europe as well as strategic participations in Ciel in Canada and Quetzsat in Mexico. SES provides outstanding satellite communications solutions via a fleet of 38 satellites in 25 orbital positions around the globe. Additional information on SES is available at: www.ses.com
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