SES SA history, profile and corporate video

 SES SA provides satellite-based data transmission and ancillary services. The company operates through Media and Broadcasting services. The Media and Broadcasting segment offer space segment services, value added services and customized services. The company applications includes Digital TV, HDTV, 3DTV and Hybrid TV. It offers services including direct-to-home broadcasting, feeds for cable and digitalterrestrial television networks, broadband Internet access and mobile backhaul. The company was founded in 1985 and is headquartered in Luxembourg.

“SES History

Early years

SES was formed on the initiative and support of the Luxembourg Government in 1985 as Société Européenne des Satellites (SES). The Luxembourg State remains a majorshareholder. In 1988, as Europe’s first private satellite operator, SES launched its first satellite, Astra 1A, to the 19.2° east orbital position. Rupert Murdoch’s Sky TV, along with German broadcasters Pro7, Sat.1, and RTL were among Astra’s first major customers.

By 1990, Astra was broadcasting to 14 million cable and DTH viewers. SES was the pioneer of ‘co-location’ by which several satellites share the same orbital position to provide mutual backup and increase the number of channels available to a fixed receiving dish, creating what became known as a ‘satellite neighbourhood’. Astra’s prime slot, 19.2° east, saw as many as eight satellites sharing the position simultaneously and helped to build up Astra’s reputation for reliability.

Rapid growth in Germany, in what would become Astra’s largest European market, was helped by the German government’s decision to liberalize the installation of dishes in 1991. In this time SES became the leading satellite system providing direct-to-home transmission, and became the world’s largest satellite platform for TV distribution.

In 1996, after the launch of Astra 1E, SES pioneered digital satellite transmission with the French Canal+. In 1998, SES launched Astra 2A for the UK market, transmitting at the new orbital position 28.2° east, and eventually moving all of its UK and Ireland transmission capacity to this orbital slot.

In the same year, SES went public on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange trading as SESG (in 2005 SES would also list on the Paris Euronext).

Global expansion

From 1999 SES began a period of ambitious global expansion beyond its European home market. Geographic expansion went hand-in-hand with the diversification of SES’ services beyond just TV broadcasting, to cover telecommunication services for businesses, telecommunications companies and government customers, as well as broadband access and technical consultancy services.

In 1999, SES acquired a 34.13% stake in Hong Kong-based satellite operator AsiaSat and took a foothold in Asia and the Pacific region. A year later, SES acquired 50% of Scandinavian satellite broadcaster Nordic Satellite AB (NSAB), later renamed SES Sirius, which strengthened SES’ coverage in northern and eastern Europe. The same year, SES also took a participation of 19.99% in Brazilian satellite operator Star One, gaining a first presence in Latin America.

In 2001, SES bought 28.75% of Argentina’s Nahuelsat and acquired GE Americom, giving it a solid presence in the important North American market. This resulted in the formation of SES Global, a corporate entity with two operating companies, SES Astra and SES Americom. Altogether, SES operated a fleet of 41 geostationary satellites, the largest in the world in 2001.

Further acquisitions followed. In 2003 SES’ stake in NSAB was increased to 75% and in 2005 SES acquired a participation in Canadian satellite operator Ciel and in Mexico’s QuetzSat, as well as the divestment from Nahuelsat.

SES acquired services provider, Digital Playout Centre GmbH (later Astra Platform Services, now SES Platform Services) in 2005. and in 2006 SES also acquired ND SatCom, a German provider of government services, developing a services portfolio beyond just bandwidth provision.

Also in 2006, SES acquired New Skies Satellites, later renamed SES New Skies, adding six satellites to the SES fleet and strengthening coverage in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

In 2007 SES divested from its holdings in AsiaSat and Star One in a complex transaction with General Electric which itself divested from SES.

In 2008, SES increased its stake in NSAB to 90%. and merged its two international operating units, SES Americom and SES New Skies into a new segment which was brandedSES World Skies in September 2009.

In 2009, SES and Middle East satellite operator Yahsat announced the formation of a joint venture, YahLive to commercialise 23 Ku-band transponders on Yahsat 1A, serving the Middle East, North Africa and South-West Asia with direct-to-home TV services. Also in 2009, SES announced its investment in O3b Networks a project to build a Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellite constellation to deliver high-speed, low-latency, fibre-like internet broadband trunking to the world’s emerging regions (“the Other 3 billion”).

In 2010, SES grew its stake in SES Sirius to 100% and closed the acquisition of the in-orbit satellite Protostar-2, renaming it SES-7 and integrating it into its fleet covering India and South East Asia.

In May and September 2011, SES restructured and rebranded the company to streamline the organisation’s activities under a single management team and one main brand (SES), incorporating the company’s two previous operating entities, SES Astra and SES World Skies.

Global operator

In August 2011 the Astra 1N satellite was launched to the Astra 28.2°E orbital position, and in September the QuetzSat 1 satellite was launched to 77°W

In February 2012, SES-4 was successfully launched to become SES’ 50th satellite and the largest, heaviest and most powerful in the fleet. In July 2012, SES-5, the 51st SES Satellite was launched from Baikonur, Kazakhstan to 5°E with 36 Ku-band transponders to provide coverage over Sub-Saharan Africa and the Nordic and the Baltic regions in Europe, and 28 C-band transponders for Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

In September 2012, Astra 2F was successfully launched from Kourou in French Guiana, the first of three “next generation” satellites at the second Astra orbital position at 28.2°E. The satellite has Ku-band coverage of all Europe, the British Isles and sub-Saharan Africa for DTH television, and Ka-band coverage of Central Europe for the SES Broadbandsatellite internet service.

SES-6 was launched from Baikonur, Kazakhstan on June 3, 2013 to 40.5°E, to replace NSS-806 and provide continuity of service and expansion capacity in C-band for Latin America and the Caribbean. The satellite has 43 C-band and 48 Ku-band transponders with comprehensive coverage of North America, Latin America, Europe and the Atlantic Ocean.

Recent events

Astra 2E was launched to the Astra 28.2°E position from Baikonur in Kazakhstan on September 30, 2013 to provide free-to-air and encrypted DTH digital TV and satellite broadband services for Europe and the Middle East. The successful launch followed a 10-week delay due to the postponement of all launches by launch services provider ILSafter a catastrophic failure of the rocket in a previous launch.

In March 2014, Astra 5B was launched as SES’ 56th satellite to the Astra 31.5°E position from Kourou in French Guianato provide transponder capacity and extend geographical reach over Central and Eastern Europe, Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States for DTH, direct-to-cable and contribution feeds to digital terrestrial television networks.

In April 2014, Romain Bausch stepped down as President and CEO of SES, a position he had held since 1995 overseeing the growth of the company from a European Direct-to-home satellite system with four satellites into a global satellite industry leader operating a fleet of more than 50 satellites. Bausch continues to serve SES as a non-executive Director, and is elected to take the role of Chairman at the start of 2015. He was succeeded as CEO by Karim Michel Sabbagh.”

*Information from Forbes.com and Wikipedia.org

**Video published on YouTube by “SESVideoChannel