Gilat CEO Steps Down as Firm Looks Beyond DoD for Business

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PARIS — Satellite terminal manufacturer Gilat Satellite Networks on March 24 said Chief Executive Erez Antebi would be leaving the company after three years in his post and that Chairman Dov Baharav, who joined the company last May, would be interim chief executive until a replacement is found.

It was the second senior management change for Gilat this year. In January, Gilat said its long-time chief financial officer would be leaving in April.

Gilat Chief Executive Erez Antebi said the company forecasts “a healthy pipeline of HTS networks that are planned for launch. We are working to be the ground equipment provider for many of these opportunities." Credit: Gilat
Gilat’s outgoing  CEO Erez Antebi Credit: Gilat

“I am proud of having led the company back to a profitable path,” Antebi said in a statement, adding that his departure follows his decision “to look for my next opportunities.”

Baharav is a former chairman of Israel Aerospace Industries and was previously chief executive of St. Louis-based Amdocs, a diversified services and consulting company with a broad telecommunications portfolio.

Gilat’s stock, trading on the Nasdaq exchange, has flirted with 52-week highs in the past week, although it was unclear if the trading was related to an expected management change.

Petah Tikva-based Gilat in mid-February reported 2014 revenue of $235.1 million, flat from 2013. But EBITDA, or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, was up 43 percent, to $23.4 million. Operating income was $13.1 million, compared to a loss of $4.1 million in 2013.

The company told investors to expect an 8.5 percent increase in revenue in 2015, with EBITDA to climb 28 percent.

In a conference call with investors, Antebi said the company, which in recent years has invested heavily in products appealing to military users starting with the U.S. Defense Department, was shifting its focus to the faster-growing commercial business.

“The defense market continues to grow and we see it as a very significant source of revenue,” Antebi said. “But it is not growing at the pace we would have liked. We therefore have shifted our focus.”

Gilat changed the name of its defense division to the mobility division and said commercial aeronautical broadband, aided by high-throughput satellites now being fielded, was the fastest-growing mobile market.

Gilat has specialized in providing commercial satellite broadband networks – hubs and user terminals – in developing nations, particularly in Latin America.

The company recently contracted with JCP, the Brazilian subsidiary of Miami-based Brastrading Inc., to deploy Ka-band terminals in Brazil connecting to five Ka-band spot beams on Paris-based Eutelsat’s Eutelsat 3B satellite at 3 degrees east, providing a total of 2.3 gigahertz of throughput.