Intelsat announces fourth quarter and full-year 2019 results


Intelsat S.A. has announced financial results for the three months and full-year ended December 31, 2019.

Intelsat reported total revenue of $517.0 million and net loss attributable to Intelsat S.A. of $115.0 million for the three months ended December 31, 2019. For the year ended December 31, 2019, Intelsat reported total revenue of $2,061.5 million and net loss attributable to Intelsat S.A. of $913.6 million.

Intelsat reported EBITDA1, or earnings before net interest, gain on early extinguishment of debt, taxes and depreciation and amortization, of $356.0 million and Adjusted EBITDA1 of $371.3 million, or 72 percent of revenue, for the three months ended December 31, 2019. Free cash flow from operations1 was $70.2 million.

For the year ended December 31, 2019, Intelsat reported EBITDA of $1,012.8 million and Adjusted EBITDA of $1,481.5 million, or 72 percent of revenue. Free cash flow from operations was $38.8 million.

Intelsat’s Chief Executive Officer, Stephen Spengler, said, “We delivered on our 2019 plan, exceeding our guidance for full-year revenue and Adjusted EBITDA. Our fourth quarter results reflect the contributions of our new satellites as well as growing revenue streams generated by our Flex managed services, benefitting our network services business. Our media business signed a significant new direct-to-home television customer contract in Asia, while the government services business achieved important renewals that will support its stability in 2020.

Spengler concluded, “The draft order issued by the Federal Communications Commission on February 7, 2020 was a major event in the C-band proceeding. Our near-term focus is on improving the draft order proposed by the FCC, obtaining changes that would allow us to quickly clear spectrum to support 5G deployments in the U.S. while protecting the video services on which nearly 120 million American homes rely.”

Fourth Quarter and Full-Year 2019 Business Highlights

Intelsat provides critical communications infrastructure to customers in the network services, media and government sectors. Our customers use our services for broadband connectivity to deliver fixed and mobile telecommunications, enterprise, video distribution and fixed and mobile government applications.

Network Services

Network services revenue was $200.2 million (or 39 percent of Intelsat’s total revenue) for the three months ended December 31, 2019, a decrease of 1 percent compared to the three months ended December 31, 2018. The network services fourth quarter 2019 result included $7.5 million in reduced revenue related to the loss of Intelsat 29e.

Network services revenue was $770.4 million (or 37 percent of Intelsat’s total revenue) for the year ended December 31, 2019, a decrease of 3 percent compared to the year ended December 31, 2018. The network services full-year result included $22.6 million in reduced revenue related to the loss of Intelsat 29e.

Media

Media revenue was $210.6 million (or 41 percent of Intelsat’s total revenue) for the three months ended December 31, 2019, a decrease of 9 percent compared to the three months ended December 31, 2018.

Media revenue was $883.0 million (or 43 percent of Intelsat’s total revenue) for the year ended December 31, 2019, a decrease of 6 percent compared to the year ended December 31, 2018.

Government

Government revenue was $96.0 million (or 19 percent of Intelsat’s total revenue) for the three months ended December 31, 2019, a decrease of 2 percent compared to the three months ended December 31, 2018.

Government revenue was $378.3 million (or 18 percent of Intelsat’s total revenue) for the year ended December 31, 2019, a decrease of 3 percent compared to the year ended December 31, 2018.

Average Fill Rate

Intelsat’s average fill rate at December 31, 2019 on our approximately 1,800 36 MHz equivalent station-kept wide-beam transponders was 78 percent, reflecting the entry into service of a new satellite, discussed below. This compares to an average fill rate at September 30, 2019 of 80 percent on 1,750 transponders. In addition, at December 31, 2019 our fleet included approximately 1,200 36 MHz equivalent transponders of high-throughput Intelsat Epic capacity, reflecting no change from the prior quarter.

Satellite Launches and Fleet Update

Intelsat had no satellite launches in the fourth quarter of 2019. The previously launched Intelsat 39 entered into service on October 14, 2019. Intelsat 39 provides connectivity services for mobile network operators, enterprises and governmental entities, as well as aeronautical and maritime mobility service providers operating in the Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific regions.

On October 9, 2019, Northrop Grumman’s in-space servicing vehicle, Mission Extension Vehicle 1, or MEV-1, successfully launched with a goal of becoming the world’s first instance of on-orbit satellite servicing. The inaugural mission of MEV-1 is currently underway, featuring a historic space rendezvous and docking with Intelsat 901. The MEV-1 service is expected to provide an extension of the service life of Intelsat 901 of up to five years.

Contracted Backlog

At December 31, 2019, Intelsat’s contracted backlog, representing expected future revenue under existing contracts with customers, was $7.0 billion, as compared to $7.2 billion at September 30, 2019.

C-band Proceeding at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission ("FCC")

On November 18, 2019, the FCC announced a decision to pursue a public auction of the C-band spectrum currently licensed to Intelsat and other satellite operators, a change from the private market solution for which Intelsat had been advocating over the past two years.

Subsequent to year-end 2019, on February 7, 2020, the FCC issued its draft order in the C-band proceeding. The draft order sets forth proposed acceleration incentive payments to certain C-band satellite operators of $9.7 billion, of which Intelsat would receive $4.85 billion, payable in two tranches. The draft order also outlines a cost reimbursement framework that would apply to the various stakeholders in the proceeding, as well as technical specifications and other elements.

Our near-term focus is on successfully improving the draft order proposed by the FCC while preserving all our rights. There can be no assurance that the FCC will accept any of our proposed changes to the order. The next major event in this proceeding is the vote of the FCC on a final order, which is currently scheduled to occur on February 28, 2020. The final order could be issued later that day.

Read the full report here

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