WASHINGTON – With two new satellites in orbit and a third underway, Hong Kong’s APT Satellite continues to grow, but company executives remain concerned about market conditions in the Asia-Pacific.
APT Satellite reported on March 19, HK $ 1.24 billion ($ 160 million) in 2018 revenue, up 2.5 percent from the previous year. Pre-tax profit remained stable at HK $ 619.6 million.
Last year, two of APT Satellite’s new satellites were launched: Apstar-6C on a Chinese Long March 3B / E rocket in May, and Apstar-5C, a Telesat-owned spacecraft that APT Satellite helped build. finance and design, in September on a SpaceX Falcon. 9. Both replace older spacecraft while adding new features – Ka-band capability on Apstar-6C and high-speed Ku-band capability on Apstar-5C.
But Asia-Pacific remains, as APT Satellite has described it for years, a region defined by “fierce” competition.
In its annual financial report, APT Satellite described 2018 market conditions as grim, with no sign of a reprieve to come in 2019.
APT Satellite wrote that in 2018 the transponder market conditions regionally and globally were in continuous decline.
“Business growth for satellite broadcasting and satellite telecommunications had been weak and the market environment on the oversupply of satellite transponders and the decline in the rental price of transponders remained unchanged,” APT wrote. Satellite. “To face the fierce market competition, the Group has actively explored new markets and new activities and has continued to enrich the content and varieties of services while providing high quality services to clients. “
APT Satellite is not alone in describing the Asia-Pacific satellite communications market as extremely difficult. Regional competitors Hong Kong AsiaSat and Thaicom in Thailand Likewise, pricing pressure impacted their 2018 financial results.
“In 2019, the global and Asia-Pacific satellite transponder market continues under conditions of oversupply and fierce competition,” wrote APT Satellite.
APT Satellite operates four main satellites (Apstar-5C, -6C, -7 and -9) in geostationary orbits, as well as two older satellites (Apstar-5 and -6) in tilted orbits which save fuel but limit types of communication services they can provide.
APT Satellite said it has filed an insurance claim for Apstar-6, which suffered a solar panel problem in May which reduced the power of the spacecraft, and that the claims procedures are nearing completion. The 14-year-old satellite was built by Thales Alenia Space.
Apstar-6D, the operator’s next satellite, is expected to “land on the ground by the end of 2019,” the company said. APT Satellite did not provide a launch date for Apstar-6D. China Great Wall Industry Corp., maker of Apstar-6D, said in November that the satellite remains on track for a 2019 launch on a Long March 3B.
Unlike recent APT Satellite launches, which replaced older satellites, Apstar-6D is a growth satellite intended to bring new high-speed capacity to mainland China and wider Asia-Pacific. APT Satellite is participating in the Apstar-6D project through a joint venture called APT Mobile Satcom Limited, headquartered in Mainland China.