By Roger Field
Demand for reliable mobile communications in emerging markets proved to be a key driver of growth in 2008
Inmarsat, a provider of satellite communications, has posted strong results for the full year 2008, with core revenues increasing by almost 14% to reach $634.7 million, compared with $557.2 million in 2007.
The UK-based operator, which provides satellite voice and data services around the world, increased its core EBITDA by 12.5% to $431.6 million, compared with $383.5 million in 2007, while pre-tax profits reached $193.8 million, up from $124.7 million the previous year.
Inmarsat’s results were buoyed by a significant increase in subscribers to its mobile land-based voice and data service, known as BGAN. The number of active BGAN terminals reached 27,635 by the end of 2008, an increase of 75% compared with 2007.
“It was pretty much a record year for us, with very good results. We are almost a billion dollar company now, so there has been big progress in the last couple of years,” Samer Halawi, vice president of Inmarsat for the MENAP region, told CommsMEA. “We are in very good shape to tackle the financial environment the way it is today.”
Halawi added that the Middle East and Africa region was a “significant” driver of growth in 2008. “A lot of our business comes from the Middle East and Africa. We have a few good revenue generators in the oil and gas sector, and also GSM in the air is becoming a factor. We have seen a lot of airlines in the Middle East sign up for the service. The region continues to be strong for Inmarsat,” he said.
Inmarsat also gained traction in the aeronautical sector, with growth of 45.4% in 2008, mainly driven by the company’s Swift64 service which serves government aircraft and private jets. Overall active aeronautical terminals were up 13.5% year over year, the company said.
Meanwhile, Inmarsat also entered the commercial aviation sector, with the launch of its SwiftBroadband service, which allows passengers on commercial flights to use mobile voice and data services. A number of airlines have now deployed SwiftBroadband terminals including Emirates, Royal Jordanian and Ryanair, the company said.For all the latest tech news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.