Thu, Feb. 26, 8:33 AM
- Iridium Communications (NASDAQ:IRDM) is up 2.9% in premarket trading after beating on top and bottom lines in Q4 and guiding to steady service revenue growth in the coming year.
- Operational EBITDA of $51.8M grew 4% and beat an expected $49.5M.
- Breaking out $100.5M in revenue: Service revenue, $78.2M (up 2%); equipment, engineering and support revenue, $22.3M.
- Total billable subscribers grew 11% Y/Y and 1.8% sequentially to 739K, driven mainly by machine-to-machine and commercial voice customers.
- Commercial voice/data subscribers grew 4% to 354K, with an ARPU of $43 (down 9% mainly on one-time Q4 benefit); commercial machine-to-machine data ARPU of $16 (flat).
- Government business ended quarter with 60K subs, up 17%.
- The company guided for 2015 service revenue growth between 3% and 6%, and to full-year operational EBITDA of $230M-$240M, in line. It expects equipment revenue ($17.1M in Q4, up 8%) won't grow in 2015 as a strong dollar dampens commercial handset sales. Conference call at 8:30 a.m. ET.
- Press release
Thu, Feb. 26, 7:03 AM| 2 Comments
Wed, Feb. 25, 5:30 PM
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Wed, Feb. 11, 9:59 AM
- Iridium (IRDM +4.9%) will be replacing Digital River in the S&P MidCap 400 after Friday's close.
- Teledyne (TDY +2.8%) will be replacing Covance in the S&P 400 after the Feb. 18 close, and Popeyes (PLKI +4.5%) will concurrently take Teledyne's spot in the S&P SmallCap 600.
- Digital River and Covance are both set to be acquired.
Mon, Jan. 19, 3:07 PM
- The Information reports Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is nearing a deal to invest in Elon Musk-founded rocket/spacecraft maker SpaceX. One source says the funding round is "very large," and will assign SpaceX a $10B+ valuation.
- The reported goal of the investment would be to "support the development of SpaceX satellites that could beam low-cost Internet around the globe to billions who don’t have it." Google was reported last June to be looking to spend anywhere from ~$1B to $3B+ on a satellite constellation providing Web access, and soon afterwards bought satellite imagery/analytics firm Skybox Imaging.
- Musk and SpaceX, meanwhile, are just days removed from unveiling plans for an Internet venture involving hundreds of satellites traveling at a much lower orbit than most satellites (thus reducing latency). Musk: "The speed of light is 40 percent faster in the vacuum of space than it is for fiber. The long-term potential is to be the primary means of long-distance Internet traffic and to serve people in sparsely populated areas."
- A Google/SpaceX effort would have competition: Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) and Richard Branson's Virgin Group just agreed to invest in OneWeb, a firm that plans to launch 648 broadband-capable low-orbit satellites.
- OneWeb is led by Greg Wyler, an industry vet who once worked for Google and was later rumored to be talking with Musk. Musk now asserts SpaceX has an edge on OneWeb. "Greg and I have a fundamental disagreement about the architecture. We want a satellite that is an order of magnitude more sophisticated..."
- Satellite services firms that could be affected: LORL, GSAT, IRDM, I, VSAT
Nov. 9, 2014, 2:12 PM
- Elon Musk (of PayPal/Tesla/SolarCity/SpaceX fame) is working with Greg Wyler (founder of satellite startup/spectrum owner WorldVu) on building and launching cheap, lightweight satellites that would blanket the Earth with Internet access, the WSJ reports.
- Musk and Wyler are said to have "discussed launching around 700 satellites, each weighing less than 250 pounds." The WSJ observes such a constellation would be 10x as large as Iridium's (NASDAQ:IRDM), currently the world's largest, and would likely cost $1B+ to finance.
- Whereas the cheapest telecom satellites currently cost several million dollars, WorldVu is reportedly hoping to build satellites with a sub-$1M manufacturing cost. Sources state Musk/Wyler are thinking of building a manufacturing plant, and that WorldVu is looking for a satellite industry partner to "lend expertise." Musk's SpaceX would launch the hardware.
- In June, the WSJ reported Google is looking to spend as much as $3B+ to build a fleet of satellites providing Web access to unconnected/underserved regions. Since then, Google has bought satellite imagery services firm Skybox Imaging, while stating Skybox's satellites could also be used to "improve Internet access."
- Wyler was working for Google before departing this summer. Sources state he left in part due to concerns about Google's lack of manufacturing expertise.
- Other satellite services firms Musk/Wyler's efforts could have implications for: GSAT, VSAT, LORL, I.
Oct. 30, 2014, 7:02 AM| 2 Comments
Sep. 22, 2014, 6:39 PM
- With the help of a 24/7 information center that would provide the last known position of missing/out-of-contact aircraft, Iridium's (NASDAQ:IRDM) Aireon air traffic surveillance venture plans to provide free emergency flight-tracking.
- The service is expected to launch in 2017, and will cover both commercial airliners and other planes featuring the needed navigation equipment. Aireon's offer comes amid surging interest in satellite-based air surveillance following the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
- Presumably, Aireon wants to up-sell users of its emergency flight-tracking service on its paid core service, which will use precise location data for planes flying outside of ground radar coverage to help pilots select more efficient flight paths, and thereby save fuel and lower travel times.
- Last December: Aireon receives funding, promises payments to Iridium
Aug. 1, 2014, 3:52 PM
- CRT Capital has upgraded Iridium (IRDM +0.5%) to Buy in response to the company's Thursday Q2 report. Its target is at $11.
- The satellite network owner beat revenue estimates (while missing on EPS) on the back of a 31K Q/Q increase in billable subscribers to 705K. Commercial service revenue grew 6% Y/Y to $60.2M, government service revenue 11% to $16M, equipment revenue 3% to $20.3M, and engineering/support revenue 72% to $6M. Strong M2M data service growth boosted both commercial and government sales.
- Iridium still expects 2%-4% full-year service revenue growth, and its forecast for an 8%-12% service revenue CAGR from 2014-2018 is also unchanged.
Jul. 31, 2014, 7:10 AM| Comment!
Jun. 2, 2014, 9:16 AM
- Google (GOOG) plans to spend ~$1B to more than $3B to build a fleet of satellites providing Web access to unconnected and underserved regions, the WSJ reports.
- Google's project will reportedly start with 180 small satellites orbiting the earth at relatively low altitudes, and is being led by the founder of satellite services startup O3b Networks.
- The effort comes on the heels of Google's purchase of solar-powered drone maker Titan Aerospace (also aims to provide Web access to remote areas), and the launch of Project Loon, an effort to prove 3G-or-faster Web access for the planet using hot-air balloons.
- Larry Page has argued balloons are cheaper and easier to deploy than satellites, but satellites offer more capacity, and have seen their costs drop sharply in recent years. Analyst Tim Farrar thinks Google will replace Loon in favor of Titan's drones, and have Titan complement a satellite network.
- Google has also been reported to be close to acquiring Skybox Imaging, a provider of high-res satellite imagery and related analytics services, for ~$1B.
- Globalstar (GSAT) +1.2% premarket. Other satellite services firms that could be affected by Google's move: VSAT, LORL, SATS, IRDM.
May. 20, 2014, 10:13 AM| Comment!
May. 12, 2014, 9:24 AM
- Macquarie has upgraded Iridium (IRDM) to Outperform, and lifted its PT by $1.50 to $8.50. The firm is pleased with the satellite network owner's recent stock offerings.
- Iridium rallied on Friday after pricing a $55M common stock offering, and a $125M convertible preferred stock offering. The offerings followed the sale of $50M in shares to mutual fund manager Baron.
May. 9, 2014, 9:25 AM
- Iridium (IRDM) is selling 7.38M shares of common stock at $6.10 (slightly below yesterday's $6.13 close), and 500K shares of 6.75% convertible preferred stock at $250. Underwriters have an overallotment option covering up to 1.1M shares of common stock.
- Iridium expects gross proceeds of $170M. Shares fell on Monday after Iridium announced the offerings, along with a $50M stock sale to fund manager Baron at a price of $6.50/share.
May. 5, 2014, 9:11 AM
May. 5, 2014, 8:27 AM
- Iridium (IRDM) is offering $45M worth of common stock and $125M worth of convertible preferred stock, and is directly selling $50M worth of common stock to mutual fund manager Baron at a price of $6.50.
- The convertible stock has an offering price of $250/share, and a liquidation preference at the same level.
- Iridium suggests it might use some of the proceeds to help finance its NEXT satellite constellation (expected to launch in 2015). The company had $255.2M in cash/investments at the end of March, and $1.1B in debt.
- Shares jumped last week following a strong Q1 report.
IRDM vs. ETF Alternatives
Iridium Communications Inc offers voice and data communications services and products to businesses, U.S. and international government agencies and other customer. It provides mobile voice & data communications services via satellites.
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