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Viasat Q3 loss despite revenue up 8%

February 7, 2024

By Chris Forrester

California-based satellite operator Viasat reported its Q3 numbers after the market closed on February 6th. Chairman and CEO Mark Dankberg said revenues grew 8 per cent to $1.1 billion (€1.02bn) which was up an impressive 73 per cent y-o-y improvement of 2023’s $651 million. However, the company’s net loss rose to $124 million (a loss of $47 million in Q3 2023).

Viasat says it expects to move into positive free cashflow territory in H1 2025.

The rise is its net loss was largely down to increased interest payments on its corporate borrowings to fund the Inmarsat acquisition.

Dankberg said: “Inmarsat’s stand-alone performance for the quarter ended December 31st 2023, was very good, with top line revenue of $443 million, a 12 per cent y-o-y increase.” Viasat is expecting a $349 million insurance claim for the lost Inmarsat-6 F2 which was lost last year.

Viasat’s problems with its ViaSat-3 F1 satellite are being resolved although not at the level the satellite was designed for.

“Based on [investigations] and recommendations, we are implementing several corrective actions on the ViaSat-3 F2 antenna. We expect to complete those actions as well as extensive testing and spacecraft integration by early calendar 2025 with launch expected shortly thereafter. The scheduled launch of ViaSat-3 F3 remains on track for late in the fourth quarter of calendar 2024. The F3 satellite has a different antenna design by a different supplier, and its schedule is not affected by the ViaSat-3 F1 anomaly,” Dankberg stated.

The good news for ViaSat-3 F1 is that the craft is achieving between 200 and 300 megabits per second peak speeds during tests. The problems with ViaSat-3 F1 are compensated for by insurance and a claim is in place for $421 million in total. Viasat has said ViaSat-3 F1 will probably be replaced by ViaSat-3 F2 or ViaSat-3 F3 over the Americas and with F1 moving elsewhere.

However, there are also challenges ahead. It emerged that Inmarsat’s 7, 8 and 9 satellites from Airbus won’t launch until 2026, according to Viasat. That’s a three-year delay from the original date and meaningfully behind schedule.

Viasat said it is providing in-flight Wi-Fi to more than 3,500 commercial aircraft, up 17 per cent y-o-y, with over 1,400 planes now in the pipeline. Dankberg says that about 700 installs would take place between now and July next year. He added Viasat is “preparing for increased geographic coverage on important routes, such as from the continental US to Hawaii.”

Overall contracted backlog grew 111 per cent y-o-y to $3.7 billion.

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