* Q2 core earnings $176 mln, beating expectations
* Maritime growth accelerates from Q1
* Shares jump 9 pct to one-year high
By Paul Sandle
LONDON, Aug 3 British satellite company Inmarsat
posted better-than-expected second-quarter earnings on
Friday as a rebound in its core maritime business accelerated.
Shares in Inmarsat hit a one-year high after the company
said price changes for its maritime broadband products,
including a minimum price per month, were boosting customer
take-up and usage.
The group, which provides communications for shipping,
aircraft and military and humanitarian operations in remote
locations, posted core earnings of $176 million. That topped
forecasts - analysts were expecting $162.8 million according to
Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S data - although earnings were down from
$223 million a year ago.
The drop was due to the suspension of payments from
LightSquared, the troubled U.S. telecoms company that had
planned to use Inmarsat's spectrum to develop a mobile network.
Chief Executive Rupert Pearce said growth in shipping
subscribers, with 2,295 new customers for its FleetBroadBand
terminals added in the quarter, was driving progress towards
meeting the company's full-year forecast of 0-2 percent revenue
growth for its satellite services.
Revenues from the maritime business rose 12.7 percent in the
April to June quarter f rom a year earlier, accelerating from a
7.2 percent increase in the first quarter and continuing to
rebound after declining 0.5 percent in 2011.
"We have seen not just a sustained transition programme (to
new terminals) but we are also seeing increased usage and ARPU
(average revenue per user) holding strong as well," he said.
"We have also insisted that people pay a minimum price per
month for access to FleetBroadBand services."
The charge of $3 a day, with a separate price plan for small
vessels, is targeted at the competing VSAT industry, which
Pearce said used Inmarsat's terminals as a back-up.
"We have made it much more difficult for our competitors to
co-opt the qualities of FleetBroadBand into their own package
product," he said.
Shares in Inmarsat jumped more than 9 percent after the
results and were the biggest gainer on the UK's mid-cap share
Giles Thorne an analyst at Jefferies, who upgraded the
stock to "buy" from "hold" in May, said the results were very
good, with revenue and core earnings beating expectations by
"Within the mix, maritime stands out as being particularly
strong, with total maritime revenue beating consensus by 9
percent," he said.
"Today's strong results put inexorable weight behind
Inmarsat's recent re-rating. We see more to come."
Inmarsat said its land services were affected by the decline
in troop numbers in Afghanistan, as well as tough comparatives a
year ago when the Arab Spring caused a rise in demand in North
Africa and revenue in Japan increased after the earthquake and
Inmarsat increased its half-year dividend payout by 10
percent to 16.94 cents.
Its shares were trading 9.2 percent higher at 529 pence by