Avanti Reports Loss Amid Continued Delays in Bookings

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PARIS — Startup satellite broadband services provider Avanti Communications on May 12 reported revenue of $39 million for the nine moths ending March 31 and said delays in booking customer commitments appeared to be easing but remained an issue.

London-based Avanti, in a trading update reported to the London Stock Exchange’s AIM market, did not forecast revenue for its full fiscal year 2014, which ends June 30. The company reported a negative $2 million in EBITDA, or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, for the nine-month period.

The company had reported $1 million in EBITDA for the six months ending Dec. 31.

Avanti said it had $65 million in cash as of March 31, with a net debt of $299 million and a backlog of $458 million — up $3 million from where it stood on Dec. 31.

The company had said in October that its backlog included some 42 million British pounds ($69.7 million) of commitments that would translate into 2014 revenue.

For the six months ending last June 30, Avanti reported $31.3 million in revenue.

Avanti operates three satellites in orbit covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Hylas 1, at 33.5 degrees east longitude, was launched in November 2010 with technology assistance from the 20-nation European Space Agency. Hylas 2, at 31 degrees east, was launched in August 2013.

A Hylas 3 payload is scheduled for launch in 2015 on a data-relay satellite being built for Airbus Defence and Space in a partnership with ESA.

Avanti has also purchased ESA’s Artemis data-relay satellite, nearing the end of its operational life, at 21.5 degrees east.

In its trading update, Avanti said it had secured Ka-band rights to the 21.5 degree slot at the International Telecommunication Union, the United Nations agency that regulates wireless broadcast frequencies and satellite orbital positions.

Avanti did not disclose whether it planned to commercialize Artemis’ S-band capacity in Europe, or the satellite’s optical communications payload, which ESA had used to speed return of data from low-orbiting Earth observation satellites to ground teams.

Avanti, which in the past has told investors that revenue growth was slower than predicted, issued a similar advisory in the May 12 update. “In the early days of selling service, we found that deals took longer to close than anticipated, and there is still an element of that,” the company said, adding that it discovered “more initial conservatism in the target customer base than expected, putting us behind in our business plan.”

Avanti said it was making headway in reducing the amount of time it takes to land a new customer and begin revenue-producing service, from 125 days in 2013 to 106 days in the past 12 months and, in the three months ending March 31, to 91 days.

 

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