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Canal+ and Eutelsat end payment dispute

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Canal+ and Eutelsat have ended their dispute over payment of transponder fees for the broadcaster’s services in Poland and Africa.

According to BFM Business, the two parties have come to an agreement following a long dispute over transponder leases for nc+ in Poland and Canal+ Reunion in Africa.

Canal+ is renting 16 2/3 transponders on Eutelsat’s Hot bird for distribution of the bouquet’s 77 channels. Canal Reunion rents transponder space on Eutelsat 16 A for a bouquet
of 97 channels.

The conflict began in early 2016, a few months after Rodolphe Belmer, former head of Canal+, took over as head of Eutelsat. NC+, the Polish subsidiary of Canal Plus, stops paying its satellite operator. In June 2016, Eutelsat gave notice to Canal Plus and NC+ to pay EUR1.1 million in arrears, failing which satellite distribution would be cut. NC+ then agrees to settle a large part of its dues. In April 2017, Eutelsat threatened to cut Canal Réunion’s signal due to unpaid bills, but was paid.

In the meantime, in December 2016, Canal Plus and NC+ attacked Eutelsat before the Paris Commercial Court, claiming EUR15.5 million in damages, and accusing it of all evils: “abuse of a dominant position”, “abuse of economic dependence”, “anti-competitive agreement”, “excessive prices”, “significantly unbalanced economic relationship”, “refusal to renegotiate the contract”, “excessive contract durations” (6 to 13 years in Poland, and 10 years in the Indian Ocean).

But Eutelsat counter-attacked. The satellite operator examines NC+’s accounts and notes that the money paid to Eutelsat “represents less than 7% of turnover and costs, which excludes any economic dependence”.

Eutelsat also asks Canal Plus to provide the court with proof that the “takeover” by the Bolloré group of the encrypted channel and its parent company Vivendi has indeed been “notified to the competent competition and regulatory authorities”. A request not without malice, because Eutelsat is well aware that Vincent Bolloré never notified anyone of his takeover…

When asked, Canal Plus did not reply, while Eutelsat “welcomes the fact that a satisfactory agreement between the stakeholders has been reached”.



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