Orbiting Wall Street 11/20/06

By | November 20, 2006 | Broadcasting, Feature, Telecom

ISAT.L

Inmarsat Holdings Ltd. recorded revenue of $129.2 million in the 2006 third quarter, up 8 percent from the same period a year ago, the company said. The recently launched Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) service has contributed revenues of $3.2 million in the quarter.

"Across the board it was a strong revenue and EBITDA performance for the third quarter," Andrew Sukawaty, Inmarsat’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "We recorded significant year over year and sequential quarterly revenue growth in all our reporting sectors. We are pleased with the contribution from our new BGAN service during the third quarter and in the continued interest this is generating among new and existing customers. Taking into account the expected impact of volume discounts in the fourth quarter, we are now well positioned to deliver results in line with market expectations for the full year."

Mobile satellites services revenue were up 10 percent in the 2006 third quarter compared to the same period in 2005, driven by continued growth in maritime data revenue and further stabilization in maritime voice revenue, Inmarsat said. Activations and higher average use of Fleet service terminals were the key contributor of maritime data growth, while maritime voice revenue remained stable.

Growth in land sector revenue was driven by increased demand for land data services due to growth for Regional-BGAN service and $3.2 million in revenue from BGAN. The gains in data offset lower demand for voice services due to price declines.

BGAN revenue for the first nine months of the year was $5.3 million and the company had 5,547 subscribes as of Sept. 30. Media agencies have been a big contributor to growth of the service, which has generated business mainly from new customers rather than pull existing customers from other Inmarsat services, the company said.

The Swift 64 service continued to push aeronautical sector revenues higher, as Inmarsat recorded its second consecutive quarter of new terminal activations.

HUGH

Hughes Communications Inc. posted revenue of $209.6 million in the 2006 third quarter, up from revenue of $200.6 million in the same period a year ago, the company announced. Hughes reported a profit of $12.1 million in the most recent quarter, which closed Sept. 30, down slightly from a profit of $12.3 million in the 2005 third quarter.

The VSAT sector was the largest contributor, recording revenues of $186.6 million in the 2006 third quarter and operating income of $13.7 million. Those figures were down slightly from the 2005 third quarter, when the VSAT sector contributed revenues of $187.3 million and operating income of $15.6 million.

The Telecom Systems sector reported revenues of $23 million and operating income of $6.3 million in the 2006 third quarter, up from revenues of $13.3 million and operating income of $3.8 million in the same period a year ago.

"The enterprise business in both North America and [internationally] continues to be the strong base on which we are growing the VSAT business," Pradman Kaul, president and CEO of Hughes, said in a statement. "… Earlier in the year we also had indicated that the major driver of our growth would be the consumer/SMB (small/medium business) market. In the third quarter of 2006, our gross subscriber additions were over 35,000, a robust increase of approximately 5,000 over the second quarter of 2006, resulting in the subscriber count exceeding 313,000 at the end of the quarter, and a 21 percent revenue increase over the third quarter of 2005. Our mobile satellite business is also showing excellent growth, as we recognize revenues from our system contracts with Thuraya, Terrestar, ICO, and Mobile Satellite Ventures."

TSX:XSR

Canadian Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. (CSR) reported revenues of 6.9 million Canadian dollars ($6 million) and a loss of 56.4 million Canadian dollars ($49.5 million) in its first full year of operations, which closed Aug. 31, the company announced. CSR, which provides the XM Canada service, launched its satellite radio operations in November 2005.

The company reported fourth quarter revenue of 3.4 million Canadian dollars ($2.9 million), up 46 percent from the previous quarter. The growth was driven by an increase in subscriptions, activations, advertising sales and sales of radios from the direct fulfillment channel. The gains did not include XM Canada’s higher monthly subscription price, which did not become effective until Sept. 1.

XM Canada reported 120,000 subscribers at the end of August, exceeding the company’s 12-month target of 75,000 subscribers.

"We are off to an incredible start and I am very pleased with what our management team has achieved in such a short period of time," John Bitove, CSR’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "We are very well positioned for long-term success with all that we have completed this year. We look forward to continued growth in 2007."

Thailand: SATTEL

Shin Satellite PCL lost 747 million Thai bhat ($20.5 million) in the 2006 third quarter, mainly due to a write-off of the Thaicom 3 satellite, the company said. Shin recorded a write-off 981 million bhat ($26.9 million) for the satellite, which was replaced by the Thaicom 5 in July and taken out of service in October after suffering a power loss.

Shin reported revenues of 1.8 billion bhat ($49.3 million) in the 2006 third quarter, up from revenues of 1.4 billion bhat ($38.4 million) in the same period a year ago.

The revenue gains were driven by an increase in sales of IPStar terminals. IPStar service revenue was 365 million bhat ($10 million), up from 231 million bhat ($6.3 million) in the 2005 third quarter.

Total transponder leasing revenue was 1 billion bhat ($27.4 million) in the 2006 third quarter, up 16 percent from the 2005 third quarter. Conventional transponder lease revenues from the Thaicom 1A, 2, 3 and 5 spacecraft were 649 million bhat ($17.8 million).

The cost of providing IPStar services jumped nearly 200 percent from the 2005 third quarter to 461 million bhat ($12.6 million) due to the start of operations in December. Shin also saw an increase in costs associated with its traditional transponder leasing business from 675 million bhat ($18.5 million) in the 2005 third quarter to 1.1 million bhat ($30.1 million) in the most recent three months.

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