Economy & Politics

SES announces social plan

According to the Luxembourg satellite operator, between 10 and 15% of the workforce is affected. The closure of some of its European offices is envisaged.

According to the Luxembourg satellite operator, between 10 and 15% of the workforce is affected. The closure of some of its European offices is envisaged.

(JFC, with Marco Meng) – The situation is not improving at the satellite manufacturer SES (European Satellite Company). Now, the continued decline in profits is affecting staff. The company intends to restructure its head office in Betzdorf and calls on employee representatives to “discuss the implementation of a social plan”. SES currently employs more than 2,100 people worldwide, including nearly 600 at the headquarters in Betzdorf.

The exact number of employees the satellite operator intends to separate worldwide and in the Grand Duchy has not been disclosed. If the company says that “it is the result of restructuring that counts”, it appears that 10 to 15% of global jobs would be affected by the restructuring. However, “this would not mean a reduction of up to 15% in the workforce, including in Luxembourg,” said Suzanne Ong, spokesperson for the company. Indeed, “part of the personnel concerned could be retrained and transferred to other sectors of activity,” she adds.

07.26.13, SES, Astra, Betzdorf, Photo: Lynn Theisen

By reducing the impact of its debt, the Luxembourg satellite operator saw its earnings increase in 2019 thanks in particular to the development of SES Networks and the future development of a new satellite.

SES should close its offices in Brussels, London, the Isle of Man, Warsaw and Zurich. The activities carried out in these places would be distributed between the other offices in Kiev, Stockholm, Stockley Park in London and The Hague, as well as at the headquarters in Luxembourg. Vacancies will not be replaced, and a progressive voluntary early retirement program for employees has been launched.

Founded in 1985 and long regarded as a Luxembourg success model, SES is 33% owned by the Luxembourg State, including 11.6% directly, and the rest via BCEE and SNCI. It has shown a turnover in constant decline for several years. Recently, the company has considered splitting up the company in order to more easily find investors for its “networks” division. The video sector – the traditional activity of television satellites – also did not develop as management had predicted in 2019. With revenues of 1.208 million euros, it clearly missed the forecasts ranging from 1,225 to 1,255 million euros.

O3B will be key to future SES developments

His public speaking is rare. But Romain Bausch remains the captain of a boat which pitched in 2017 and which could well pitch again this year. His convictions seemed to reassure the ordinary and extraordinary general meetings of the SES, Thursday in Betzdorf.

Compared to 2018, conventional satellite activity decreased by 8.5%. Networks, on the other hand, increased by 4.7% to reach 762 million euros between 2018 and 2019. However, profits continue to fall. While the company declared a surplus of 500 to 600 million euros for the years 2011 to 2017, it has since halved. The satellite operator’s stock has lost 65% of its value in the past twelve months. Calculated over the past five years, this represents an 85% impairment loss.

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