No sooner than one of the FCC’s Commissioners makes (slightly) positive noises about the possible reallocation of some satellite C-band frequencies over the US than the FCC’s chairman Ajit Pai tells a conference that it was important to get any decision right, and that the FCC wouldn’t be making a ‘right now’ decision. Asked when a decision might come, Pai replied that the agency is “deliberating as vigorously as we can and hope to reach a resolution at some point in the future.”
The comments wiped millions from the share prices of the two main satellite operators involved, Intelsat (which tumbled from $17.71 to $14.68 a share at one point on March 21st) and SES (which crashed from €15.62 on Wednesday Mar 20th morning to just €13.91 during March 22nd).
Equity analysts at Exane/BNPP said: “A negative, but quickly been priced in with the 24% decline over the past month. These statements suggest that the FCC might take longer than Q2/2019 to reach a decision on satellites C-band proposal. We believe these statements have to be seen in the context of talks of legislative action at the US Congress level.”
“While the newsflow on C-band could remain difficult in coming weeks (legislative action at the US Congress) we continue to believe that SES should be able to reap economic benefits from its C band rights ahead of what the shares currently suggest.”