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Rating Action:

Moody's upgrades Satmex's ratings to Ba1; stable outlook

10 Feb 2014

NOTE: On December 11, 2014, the press release was revised as follows: in the REGULATORY DISCLOSURES section, removed Quality of Information, MIS Ratings Definitions, Rating History and Ratings Opinion and Disclaimer Regarding Liability regulatory disclosure items; corrected releasing office information to Moody's Investors Service, Inc. from Moody's de Mexico S.A. de C.V. Revised release follows.

New York, February 10, 2014 -- Moody's Investors Service has today upgraded Satmex's corporate family rating and the senior secured rating of Satmex' global notes to Ba1 from Caa1. This action concludes Satmex rating review process started on August 2, 2013, when Moody's placed all Satmex's ratings on review for upgrade. The outlook on the ratings is stable.

The following summarizes Satmex' ratings and today's rating actions:

Issuer: Satelites Mexicanos, S.A. de C.V.

.... Corporate Family Rating, Upgraded to Ba1 from Caa1

....Senior Secured Regular Bond/Debenture May 15, 2017, Upgraded to Ba1 from Caa1

Outlook Actions:

..Issuer: Satelites Mexicanos, S.A. de C.V.

....Outlook, Changed To Stable from Rating Under Review For Upgrade

RATINGS RATIONALE

The rating action follows Eutelsat Communication (Eutelsat, unrated)'s successful acquisition of 100% of the share capital of Satélites Mexicanos, S.A. de C.V. ("Satmex") announced last January 2, 2014. As a fully owned subsidiary of Eutelsat, Satmex's Ba1 ratings consider Moody's expectation of its support to Satmex. The rating also reflects Moody's understanding that Eutelsat will be looking to refinance Satmex's debt at Eutelsat SA (Baa3 stable), although it was not confirmed either by Eutelsat or Satmex. Moody's expects Eutelsat to be strongly motivated by its own self-interest to ensure that payments on Satmex's outstanding notes are made on a timely basis. Moody's has not equalized Satmex's ratings with those of Eutelsat SA because support is less certain than would be the case if the latter guaranteed or legally assumed the debt of Satmex.

"We have upgraded Satmex's ratings given our consideration of implicit support from Eutelsat, despite the lack of a guarantee to the company's debt," says Nymia Almeida, a Moody's Senior Credit Officer and lead analyst for Satmex.

The acquisition amounted USD 831 million, that Eutelsat ultimately financed with part of the proceeds of the EUR 930 million local notes issued by its subsidiary Eutelsat SA (Baa3 stable) in December 2013. Currently, Satmex's USD 360 million notes, due in 2017, remain outstanding and do not bear any guarantee from its parent company. Despite the lack of guarantees, the Ba1 rating on Satmex's notes is reflective of the implicit support Moody's expects Satmex to receive from Eutelsat, in the context of the latter's expansionary business strategy in Latin America.

Satmex Ba1 rating is in line with the Ba1 rating of the senior unsecured bank facilities at Eutelsat Communications SA, reflecting the structural subordination to the debt and other claims at Eutelsat SA.

Prior to the acquisition, Satmex's standalone rating was being driven by the large credit risk posed by its satellite launch program. The program included the satellites Satmex 7 and Satmex 9, expected to be launched in 2015, with a total cost of approximately USD 170 million each. As of September 30, 2013, Moody's estimates that more than USD 200 million were unfunded and without clear funding sources.

Following the transaction, Satmex credit profile has significantly improved as it is now part of a larger and better capitalized company. Eutelsat's solid business position as a multi-regional satellite service provider, its ability to achieve revenue growth, and its solid liquidity should support Satmex's satellite launch program. Moreover, Moody's evaluates Eutelsat's willingness to support its new subsidiary based on the perceived relevance Satmex has to Eutelsat's strategy to complement its footprint in fast-growing markets, and securing future sources of growth. However, the ratings are also cognizant of Eutelsat's exposure to industry-typical technology risks, and are tempered by near-term constraints on free cash flow generation given the company's ongoing capex program and high dividend payouts.

The stable outlook on the ratings reflects our consideration of implicit support from Eutelsat, as well as the parent´s solid business profile, good operating performance and track record of predictable revenues.

An upgrade on Satmex's ratings will depend on Eutelsat's ratings. We do not expect any immediate upward rating pressure, given Eutelsat's increased leverage resulting from the Satmex acquisition as well as free cash flow absorption through shareholder remuneration and capex. Positive rating pressure could develop over time if Eutelsat's debt/EBITDA ratio (as adjusted by Moody's) decreases below 3.25x on a sustainable basis.

Conversely, negative pressure could arise if Eutelsat's performance weaken, in the context of a negative free cash flow over the next couple of years. The negative pressure would be developing in the event of a significant deterioration in operating performance (growth rate, margin) and in case of increasing leverage such that the Debt / EBITDA ratio (as adjusted by Moody's) sustainably exceeds 3.75x.

Satmex's standalone credit profile is much weaker than when incorporating support from its parent company. Therefore, any change in our consideration of the support from the parent company could result in negative pressure for Satmex ratings. Support could be revised for example due to a change in Satmex relevance within Eutelsat's overall strategy, evidence of lack of support from Eutelsat to any of its subsidiaries or to Satmex's funding needs.

Based in Mexico, Satmex is a satellite operator providing fixed satellite services (standard C- and Ku-band services) to local and international broadcasting and telecom firms as well as to government-related entities. Satmex operates three satellites in geo-synchronous orbital slots allocated to Mexico, covering the Americas. The company's satellite fleet includes Satmex 5, Satmex 6 and the recently launched Satmex 8. As of September 30, 2013, the company's last twelve month revenue amounted to about USD 137 million, of which fixed satellite services represented around 84%. Moody's adjusted EBITDA for the same period was USD 91.5 million (66.6% margin). Starting January 2014, the company will fully consolidate within the accounts of Eutelsat Communications.

Headquartered in Paris, France, Eutelsat Communications is a leading operator of communications satellites, providing satellite capacity to broadcasters and broadcasting associations, pay-TV operators, video, data and Internet service providers, enterprises and government agencies. Through its fleet comprised by 34 satellites, Eutelsat covers Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia-Pacific and the Americas. As of June 30, 2013, the company's last twelve months revenues amounted to about € 1,284 million. Moody's adjusted EBITDA for the same period was € 1,020 million (79.5% margin).

The principal methodology used in this rating was the Global Communications Infrastructure Rating Methodology published in June 2011. Please see the Credit Policy page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

For ratings issued on a program, series or category/class of debt, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series or category/class of debt or pursuant to a program for which the ratings are derived exclusively from existing ratings in accordance with Moody's rating practices. For ratings issued on a support provider, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular rating action for securities that derive their credit ratings from the support provider's credit rating. For provisional ratings, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the provisional rating assigned, and in relation to a definitive rating that may be assigned subsequent to the final issuance of the debt, in each case where the transaction structure and terms have not changed prior to the assignment of the definitive rating in a manner that would have affected the rating. For further information please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page for the respective issuer on www.moodys.com.

For any affected securities or rated entities receiving direct credit support from the primary entity(ies) of this rating action, and whose ratings may change as a result of this rating action, the associated regulatory disclosures will be those of the guarantor entity. Exceptions to this approach exist for the following disclosures, if applicable to jurisdiction: Ancillary Services, Disclosure to rated entity, Disclosure from rated entity.

Regulatory disclosures contained in this press release apply to the credit rating and, if applicable, the related rating outlook or rating review.

Please see www.moodys.com.mx for any updates on changes to the lead rating analyst and to the Moody's legal entity that has issued the rating.

Please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for additional regulatory disclosures for each credit rating.

Nymia C. Almeida
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's de Mexico S.A. de C.V
Ave. Paseo de las Palmas
No. 405 - 502
Col. Lomas de Chapultepec
Mexico, DF 11000
Mexico
JOURNALISTS: 001-888-779-5833
SUBSCRIBERS:52-55-1253-5700

Marianna Waltz, CFA
Associate Managing Director
Corporate Finance Group
JOURNALISTS: 800-891-2518
SUBSCRIBERS: 55-11-3043-7300

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
U.S.A.
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Moody's upgrades Satmex's ratings to Ba1; stable outlook
No Related Data.
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