Intelsat S.A., has announced financial results for the three months ended March 31, 2020.
Intelsat reported total revenue of $458.8 million and net loss attributable to Intelsat S.A. of $218.8 million for the three months ended March 31, 2020.
Intelsat reported EBITDA1, or earnings before net interest, taxes and depreciation and amortization, of $263.3 million and Adjusted EBITDA1 of $294.0 million, or 64 percent of revenue, for the three months ended March 31, 2020.
Intelsat’s Chief Executive Officer, Stephen Spengler, said, “Like many companies, we were not immune to the effects of COVID-19, which created challenges for our underlying business. Our first quarter results reflect the decline in sea and air travel which negatively impacted our network services business. The media business also experienced disruptions primarily related to the decline in “occasional use” services for sporting events and concerts which were cancelled to comply with the broad stay-at-home orders issued during the period. We were pleased with the resilience of the government services business which delivered stable results in a challenging environment while generating renewals and new business contracts.”
Spengler concluded, “Last week we announced our decision to opt into the FCC Accelerated C-band Clearing Plan. We are already working closely with our customers and vendors to ensure we achieve the agreed upon milestones. Intelsat is committed to helping the U.S. maintain its leadership in developing advanced telecommunications technologies. Our role in clearing the C-band will help create a winning formula for America in the race to deploy 5G networks.”
First Quarter 2020 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 government applications.
Network services revenue was $149.4 million (or 33 percent of Intelsat’s total revenue) for the three months ended March 31, 2020, a decrease of 27 percent compared to the three months ended March 31, 2019. The decline in network services revenue was related to non-renewals and renewals at lower pricing coupled with two unusual items, including a one-time recognition of accelerated revenue in the first quarter of 2019 and lower revenue in the current quarter when compared with the same period last year due to the loss of Intelsat 29e (I\S-29e) in April 2019.
Media revenue was $205.8 million (or 45 percent of Intelsat’s total revenue) for the three months ended March 31, 2020, a decrease of 9 percent compared to the three months ended March 31, 2019.
Government revenue was $95.8 million (or 21 percent of Intelsat’s total revenue) for the three months ended March 31, 2020, an increase of 3 percent compared to the three months ended March 31, 2019.
Average Fill Rate
Intelsat’s average fill rate at March 31, 2020 on our approximately 1,676 36 MHz station-kept wide-beam transponders was 78.5 percent, as compared to an average fill rate at December 31, 2019 of 78 percent on 1,800 transponders. In addition, at March 31, 2020 our fleet included approximately 1,218 36 MHz equivalent transponders of high-throughput Intelsat Epic capacity as compared to 1,200 high-throughput transponders at December 31, 2019.
At March 31, 2020, Intelsat’s contracted backlog, representing expected future revenue under existing contracts with customers, was $6.6 billion, as compared to $7.0 billion at December 31, 2019.
C-band Proceeding at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
On March 3, 2020, the FCC issued its final order in the C-band proceeding. The order determined that acceleration incentive payments totaling $9.7 billion would be made to certain C-band satellite operators, subject to the achievement of certain milestones, of which Intelsat would receive $4.87 billion, payable in two tranches. The order also outlined a cost reimbursement framework that would apply to the various stakeholders in the proceeding, as well as technical specifications and other elements. To participate in the accelerated clearing process and qualify to receive the incentive payments, C-band satellite operators were required to file a written commitment to opt in by the May 29th deadline.
Last week, in advance of the FCC’s filing deadline, Intelsat announced its decision to opt into the FCC Accelerated C-band Clearing Plan while also filing a Petition for Reconsideration requesting limited technical changes to the order. There is no assurance that the FCC will accept any of our proposed changes to the order.