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Intelsat announces Q4 and full-year 2020 results

Intelsat S.A., today announced financial results for the three months and full-year ended December 31, 2020.

Intelsat reported total revenue of $482.8 million and net loss attributable to Intelsat S.A. of $271.6 million for the three months ended December 31, 2020. For the year ended December 31, 2020, Intelsat reported total revenue of $1,913.1 million and net loss attributable to Intelsat S.A. of $911.7 million.

Intelsat reported EBITDA1, or earnings before net interest, gain on early extinguishment of debt, taxes and depreciation and amortization, of $39.5 million and Adjusted EBITDA1 of $307.6 million, or 64 percent of revenue, for the three months ended December 31, 2020.

For the year ended December 31, 2020, Intelsat reported EBITDA of $550.7 million and Adjusted EBITDA of $1,276.9 million, or 67 percent of revenue.

Intelsat’s Chief Executive Officer, Stephen Spengler, said, “The COVID-19 pandemic made 2020 a challenging year; however, we are proud of our ability to maintain a high standard of operations and delivery of mission critical services to our customers. The strategic value of our global network and the services it provides to our customers was reaffirmed during the year. Our mobility customers were significantly impacted by the reduction in travel in both the maritime and aeronautical sectors, yet they renewed contracts and committed to new business with Intelsat. In addition to ongoing business trends, the media services business was also affected by weakening market currencies and a reduction in occasional use revenue, attributable in large part to COVID-19. Satellite network services and the uptake of our FlexGround land mobility managed service drove positive momentum for the government services business.”

Spengler added, “As we look to 2021 and beyond, our team is focused on the delivery of high-value services to our customers, and also on the catalysts that will drive the transformation of our business. These include executing on the C-band relocation to secure the accelerated payments, successfully integrating and expanding the Intelsat commercial aviation business and emerging from restructuring as a healthy and flexible company. We are investing in our next-generation software defined network, which will be critical to this transformation and enable us to deliver on our strategy to be an industry leader in end-to-end managed services.”

Fourth Quarter and Full-Year 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 fixed and mobile government applications.

Network Services
Network services revenue was $181.7 million (or 38 percent of Intelsat’s total revenue) for the three months ended December 31, 2020, a decrease of 9 percent compared to the three months ended December 31, 2019.

Network services revenue was $677.4 million (or 35 percent of Intelsat’s total revenue) for the year ended December 31, 2020, a decrease of 12 percent compared to the year ended December 31, 2019.

The decline in network services revenue from the prior full year was primarily attributed to COVID-19 related contract renegotiations and capacity reductions with mobility customers, a one time recognition of accelerated revenue in the prior year period with no comparable amount in the current period, and reduced demand impacting renewals and renewals at lower pricing. These decreases were partially offset by new business from network operators and the expansion of FlexMaritime mobility managed services. Inflight services had an aggregate increase of $15.6 million attributable to the acquisition of Gogo Inc.’s commercial aviation business (Gogo CA) in December 2020 (the Gogo Transaction).

Media
Media revenue was $200.6 million (or 42 percent of Intelsat’s total revenue) for the three months ended December 31, 2020, a decrease of 5 percent compared to the three months ended December 31, 2019.

Media revenue was $812.5 million (or 42 percent of Intelsat’s total revenue) for the year ended December 31, 2020, a decrease of 8 percent compared to the year ended December 31, 2019.

The decline in media revenue from the prior year reflects the impact of non-renewals due to compression and sector trends, termination of a ground services contract, and the reduction in occasional use services for sporting events and concerts related to COVID-19.

Government
Government revenue was $92.7 million (or 19 percent of Intelsat’s total revenue) for the three months ended December 31, 2020, a decrease of 3 percent compared to the three months ended December 31, 2019.

Government revenue was $392.6 million (or 21 percent of Intelsat’s total revenue) for the year ended December 31, 2020, an increase of 4 percent compared to the year ended December 31, 2019.

Government revenue was driven by new business, including our FlexGround land mobility managed services and satellite network services, offset primarily by the impact of non-renewals when compared to the prior year.

Average Fill Rate
Intelsat’s average fill rate at December 31, 2020 on approximately 1,675 36 MHz station-kept wide-beam transponders was 73 percent, as compared to an average fill rate at September 30, 2020 of 75 percent on approximately 1,675 transponders. In addition, at December 31, 2020 our fleet included approximately 1,225 36 MHz units of high-throughput Intelsat Epic capacity, reflecting no change from the prior quarter.

Satellite Activity
Galaxy 30 (G-30) successfully entered into service on February 3, 2021. G-30 is the first satellite in Intelsat’s comprehensive Galaxy fleet refresh plan that will provide Intelsat’s media customers in North America with high-performance broadcast distribution capabilities. With additional Ku- and Ka-band steerable beams and an L-band payload for a specific customer, G-30 will also serve some of Intelsat’s North American government, mobility and enterprise customers.

Subsequent to year end, Northrop Grumman’s in-space servicing vehicle, Mission Extension Vehicle 2, or MEV-2, is heading to a rendezvous and docking with Intelsat 1002, anticipated to occur in early Q2 2021. MEV-2 is designed to extend the life of the Intelsat 1002 satellite by approximately five years, improving Intelsat’s capital investment efficiency.

Contracted Backlog
At December 31, 2020, Intelsat’s contracted backlog, representing expected future revenue under existing contracts with customers, was $6.1 billion as compared to $6.2 billion at September 30, 2020.

C-band Proceeding at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
On December 8, 2020, the FCC commenced its bidding process for the C-band spectrum auction. Subsequent to year-end on January 15, 2021, the FCC announced that bidding for the C-band spectrum auction was complete, generating approximately $81 billion in proceeds. On March 14, 2021 after completion of the assignment process, the FCC announced the winners from the C-band spectrum auction. With the auction complete, Intelsat remains committed to successful execution of the accelerated clearing process and getting the spectrum in the hands of the winning bidders to ensure America maintains its leadership position in the race to develop 5G networks.

Financial Results for the Three Months Ended December 31, 2020
Total revenue for the three months ended December 31, 2020 decreased by $34.2 million to $482.8 million, or a decrease of 7 percent as compared to the three months ended December 31, 2019. By service type, our revenues increased or decreased due to the following:

Total On-Network Revenues decreased by $38.3 million, or 8 percent, to $416.3 million as compared to the three months ended December 31, 2019 due to the following:

  • Transponder services reported an aggregate decrease of $13.5 million, primarily due to a $10.2 million decrease from network services customers, and a $6.2 million decrease in revenue from media customers, partially offset by a $2.8 million increase in revenue from government customers. The decrease in revenue from network services customers was primarily driven by reduced demand resulting in non-renewals and lower pricing, partially offset by an increase in revenue resulting from new network operator and mobility customer business. The decline in revenue from media customers was primarily driven by non-renewals due to compression and sector trends and renewals at lower pricing, partially offset by increased revenues from new business. The increase in revenue from government customers was primarily due to services shifted from off-network to on-network capacity.
  • Managed services reported an aggregate decrease of $24.5 million, primarily due to a $21.7 million decrease from network services customers and a $3.9 million decrease from media customers, partially offset by a $1.1 million increase from government customers. The decrease in revenue from network services customers was driven by COVID-19 related contract renegotiations and credits with mobility customers, partially offset by increases in revenue due to increased uptake of new Flex managed services. The decrease in revenue from media customers was mainly related to a decline in occasional use video services, as well as non-renewals and an early termination of a contract. The increase in revenue from government customers was primarily attributable to new FlexGround land mobility managed services.

Total Off-Network and Other Revenues decreased by $11.5 million, or 18 percent, to $50.9 million, as compared to the three months ended December 31, 2019 due to the following:

  • Transponder, Mobile Satellite Services (MSS) and other Off-Network services revenues decreased by an aggregate of $8.3 million to $40.6 million, primarily due to lower government revenues of $6.4 million as a result of a decline in pricing upon service renewal, services moved to on-network capacity, as well as a decrease in sales of customer premises equipment.
  • Satellite-related services reported a decrease of $3.2 million to $10.3 million, largely related to revenues from professional fees in connection with Mission Extension Vehicle 1 (MEV-1) and transfer orbit services occurring during the fourth quarter of 2019 with no comparable amounts in the current period.

Direct costs of revenue (excluding depreciation and amortization) increased by $18.5 million, or 18 percent, to $119.1 million for the three months ended December 31, 2020, as compared to the three months ended December 31, 2019. This was primarily due to an $11.2 million increase in expenses related to the Gogo Transaction, and a $7.6 million increase in staff-related expenses relating to our employee retention incentive plans.

Selling, general and administrative expenses increased by $41.0 million, or 70 percent, to $99.6 million for the three months ended December 31, 2020, as compared to the three months ended December 31, 2019. The increase was primarily due to a $16.8 million increase in bad debt expense, a $9.2 million increase in staff-related expenses primarily as a result of increased employee wages and retention incentive plans, and a $9.2 million increase in professional fees mainly due to expenses relating to the Gogo Transaction.

Depreciation and amortization expense increased by $3.4 million, or 2 percent, to $165.2 million for the three months ended December 31, 2020, as compared to the three months ended December 31, 2019, primarily due to a $3.2 million increase in depreciation and amortization expense related to Gogo CA.

Impairment of non-amortizable intangible and other assets represents impairment charges of $137.7 million and $8.0 million for the three months ended December 31, 2020 relating to our rights to operate at certain orbital locations, and the Intelsat trade name, respectively. No comparable amounts were recognized for the three months ended December 31, 2019.

Other operating expense – C-band consists of reimbursable and non-reimbursable costs associated with our C-band spectrum relocation efforts. For the three months ended December 31, 2020, we incurred $33.6 million of reimbursable and non-reimbursable C-band clearing related expenses, with no comparable amounts for the three months ended December 31, 2019.

Interest expense, net decreased by $185.2 million, or 58 percent, to $134.7 million for the three months ended December 31, 2020, as compared to $319.9 million for the three months ended December 31, 2019. The decrease was principally due to a reduction of $174.6 million in interest expense as a result of the Company’s Chapter 11 restructuring activities.

Other income, net was $5.6 million for the three months ended December 31, 2020, as compared to other expense, net of $1.7 million for the three months ended December 31, 2019. The net increase in other income of $7.3 million was due to a $7.3 million net loss for the three months ended December 31, 2019 resulting from a change in value of certain investments in third parties, with no similar activity for the same period in 2020.

Reorganization items reflect direct costs incurred in connection with our Chapter 11 cases. Reorganization items of $50.8 million for the three months ended December 31, 2020 primarily consisted of $44.4 million in professional fees and $7.5 million in financing fees related to our debtor-in possession (DIP) credit facility. There were no comparable amounts for the three months ended December 31, 2019.

Provision for income taxes was $10.6 million for the three months ended December 31, 2020, as compared to an $11.3 million benefit for income taxes for the three months ended December 31, 2019. The increase in tax expense was principally attributable to a release of a valuation allowance on disallowed business interest expense previously recorded for our U.S. subsidiaries.

Cash received for income taxes, net of refunds, totaled $12.3 million for the three months ended December 31, 2020. Cash paid for income taxes, net of refunds, totaled $24.3 million for the three months ended December 31, 2019.

Net Income, Net Income per Diluted Common Share attributable to Intelsat S.A., EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA

Net loss attributable to Intelsat S.A. was $271.6 million for the three months ended December 31, 2020, compared to a net loss of $115.0 million for the same period in 2019.

Net loss per diluted common share attributable to Intelsat S.A. was $1.91 for the three months ended December 31, 2020, compared to a net loss of $0.81 per diluted common share for the same period in 2019.

EBITDA was $39.5 million for the three months ended December 31, 2020, compared to $356.0 million for the same period in 2019, reflecting lower revenue and higher operating costs, as described above.’

Adjusted EBITDA was $307.6 million for the three months ended December 31, 2020, or 64 percent of revenue, compared to $371.3 million, or 72 percent of revenue, for the same period in 2019, reflecting lower revenue and higher operating costs, as described above.

Free Cash Flow from (Used In) Operations
Net cash provided by operating activities was $136.6 million for the three months ended December 31, 2020. Free cash flow used in operations was $50.2 million for the same period. Free cash flow from (used in) operations is defined as net cash provided by operating activities and other proceeds from satellites from investing activities, less payments for satellites and other property and equipment (including capitalized interest). Payments for satellites and other property and equipment from investing activities, net during the three months ended December 31, 2020 were $186.8 million, with no other proceeds from satellites.
CT Bureau

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