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Virgin Orbit reveals 2022-23 plans

March 31, 2022

Sir Richard Branson-backed space plane and small satellite launcher Virgin Orbit has reported a downbeat revenue picture for 2021 with just two launches last year (and only one to date in 2022). This translated into a net loss of $157.3 million (€141.5m) for 2021 on $ 7.4 million in revenue. Back in August last year when it mounted its SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Company) reverse takeover Virgin Orbit talked glowingly of a $3.7 billion valuation.

CEO Dan Hart updated the market with news that it had signed a 20-launch contract with Japan’s ANA Holdings and which helped boost its launch backlog from $86 million to $575 million as at December 31st 2021. Of that sum a total of $152 million is described as being a “binding backlog”.

Virgin Orbit has in place contracts to launch satellites from Japan, Cornwall UK and Brazil and a recent contract for the Sultanate of Oman. The company is aiming for 4-6 launches per year including this year.

Its next launch is in Q2 this year, and a launch is promised from the UK later in the year.

As to the operator’s financials the full year 2021 gross profit was (minus) $30.5 million, compared to $672,000 in 2020.

“The change was driven by the cost related to our initial production rockets for our second demonstration launch and our first commercial launch,” explained CFO Brita O’Rear. The company has $195 million cash-in-hand which should help tide it over until business contract start flowing.

Virgin said it had struck a Standby Equity Purchase Agreement (SEPA) with Yorkville Advisors.

“This SEPA will give us the right, but not the obligation to sell up to $250 million of shares of common stock at our request over the next 36 months, subject to the terms and limitations set forth in the agreement,” added O’Rear.

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