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Iridium Announces 2019 Financial Results, 2020 Outlook; Matt Desch, 2020 Wash100 Award Recipient, Quoted

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Matt Desch
Matt Desch

Iridium Communications has reported financial results for the fourth quarter of 2019 and issued its full-year 2020 guidance on Tuesday.

"2019 was a transformational year for Iridium with the completion of our constellation and the launch of our new Iridium Certus broadband service. These milestones support a new era of technological innovation and growth, and also signal the long-awaited move from capital spending to a sustained period of positive cash flow," said Matt Desch, CEO of Iridium and 2020 Wash 100 Award recipient

Net loss was $107.9 million, or $0.82 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of 2019, as compared to net loss of $7.6 million, or $0.09 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of 2018. The increase is in the result of debt extinguishment costs associated with Iridium's refinancing, as well as higher interest expense, depreciation and amortization expense related to the completion of the Iridium NEXT program. 

Operational EBITDA for the fourth quarter was $80.1 million, as compared to $75.5 million for the prior-year period, representing a year-over-year increase of 6 percent. Commercial service remained the largest part of Iridium's business, representing 64% of the Company's total revenue during the fourth quarter. 

Commercial service revenue was $88.6 million, up 4% from last year's comparable period due primarily to increased revenues from IoT and voice and data services. Government service revenue was $25.0 million and reflected increased revenue from the Company's new EMSS contract with the U.S. government signed in September 2019.

Equipment revenue was $17.1 million during the fourth quarter, down 15% from the prior-year period. This was consistent with the Company's guidance. Engineering and support revenue was $8.3 million during the fourth quarter, up 73% from the prior-year quarter, primarily due to an increase in the volume of contracted work to enable services for the U.S. government.

The company issued its full-year 2020 outlook and reiterated other elements of long-term guidance, including the projected total service revenue growth between 6% and 8% for full-year 2020. Full-year 2020 OEBITDA between $355 million and $365 million. OEBITDA for 2019 was $331.7 million.

Negligible cash taxes in 2020. Cash taxes are expected to be negligible through approximately 2023. Net leverage of approximately 4.0 times OEBITDA at the end of 2020. Net leverage was 4.8 times OEBITDA at December 31, 2019.

About Iridium Communications Inc.

Iridium® is the only mobile voice and data satellite communications network that spans the entire globe.  Iridium enables connections between people, organizations and assets to and from anywhere, in real time. Together with its ecosystem of partner companies, Iridium delivers an innovative and rich portfolio of reliable solutions for markets that require truly global communications.  

In 2019, the company completed a generational upgrade of its satellite network and launched its new specialty broadband service, Iridium Certus.  Iridium Communications Inc. is headquartered in McLean, Va., U.S.A., and its common stock trades on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker symbol IRDM.