Ottawa-based Telesat’s revenues take off on new satellite launches in Q3


The successful launch of a new satellite earlier this year gave Telesat’s revenues a lift in the third quarter, although foreign exchange losses took a bit of the air out of the Ottawa firm’s bottom line in the first nine months of 2018.

The aerospace company Thursday reported revenues of $227 million for the three-month period ending Sept. 30, an increase of six per cent compared with the same period of 2017.

Telesat attributed the bump to a slight change in accounting practices and new income generated from its Telstar 19 Vantage satellite that entered service in August. When the impact of foreign exchange is taken into account, Telesat said its third-quarter revenues were still up five per cent, or about $11 million.

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After finishing the second quarter in the red, the firm bounced back to post a net income of $117 million, down from its profit of $197 million in the same period last year. Telesat said most of the difference was due to converting its debt from U.S. dollars to Canadian currency in the third quarter of 2018.

Telesat also blamed foreign exchange losses for a steep decline in overall net income for the first nine months of this year. Through Sept. 30, the firm’s revenues of $671 million were almost identical to 2017’s totals, but its net income dropped to $96 million from $433 million a year ago.

Still, CEO Dan Goldberg sounded an upbeat tone, saying the launch of two new satellite models and a number of upcoming projects are paving the way for future growth.

In addition to launching the Telstar 19 in July, Telesat put its new Telstar 18 Vantage satellite into service over Asia and the South Pacific in September. The company also has contracts with Airbus and a consortium comprised of Thales Alenia Space and Maxar to develop a low-Earth orbit satellite constellation. Telesat said it recently partnered with U.S. media company Global Eagle Entertainment to test an in-flight broadband connection through the LEO satellite system.

“In addition to achieving solid financial results, we took a number of concrete steps to strengthen our business and position the company for the future,” Goldberg said in a statement. “Looking ahead, we remain focused on increasing the utilization of our in-orbit satellites and executing on our key growth initiatives.”

Telesat, which is preparing to move out of its longtime home in Gloucester to a new downtown headquarters at Place Bell before the year is out, said its order backlog at the end of the third quarter stood at $3.7 billion.

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