DigitalGlobe Raises Outlook on Strong 3Q Results

by

Commercial imagery satellite operator DigitalGlobe posted higher revenue and income for the third quarter of 2009 and raised its full-year outlook following the successful Oct. 8 launch of the company’s third high-resolution remote sensing satellite, WorldView-2.

In a Nov. 10 filing with the  U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Longmont, Colo.-based company said net income for the three months ended Sept. 30 was up slightly, year over year, to $14.6 million. Revenue rose about 7.5 percent, to $71.8 million, compared with the same period last year. DigitalGlobe’s year-to-date net income, however, was down 16 percent to $33.6 million.

DigitalGlobe told investors that commissioning of the WorldView-2 was on track and it is expected to enter commercial service in January.

During the quarter that ended Sept. 30, the company activated a new ground station in Antarctica that will increase the speed of access to the company’s products and signed the Clear30 agreement with Microsoft Corp. for high-resolution aerial imagery, DigitalGlobe Chief Executive Jill Smith said in a Nov. 9 conference call.

Once fully operational, WorldView-2 is expected to  double the company’s collection capacity to more than 500 million square kilometers per year. DigitalGlobe’sQuickbird imagery satellite, launched in 2001, is now predicted to last 18 months longer than previously estimated due to lower fuel consumption and a lack of degradation in the satellite’s components, Smith said.

Some uncertainty exists for DigitalGlobe in 2010 as the U.S. government has not yet finalized its plans to support the next generation of commercial imagery satellites. The U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has issued a classified draft request for proposals for its EnhancedView program, which is intended to strengthen the government’s relationship with commercial imagery satellite operators. A final request for proposals is expected by the end of the year and contracts are anticipated in mid-2010, Smith said.