October 30, 2012 / 8:56 PM / in 5 years

DigitalGlobe profit rides rising demand for satellite images

(Reuters) - DigitalGlobe Inc DGI.N posted better-than-expected quarterly results and raised its full-year sales forecast for the third time this year on increased sales of its satellite images to businesses and U.S. intelligence agencies.

The company has been looking to boost its revenue from commercial and international customers in the face of expected cuts in the U.S. defense budget.

It said in July it would acquire smaller rival GeoEye Inc GEOY.O to create the world’s largest commercial satellite imagery provider, gaining access a wider revenue base.

Revenue in its commercial business jumped 57 percent to $26.1 million in the third quarter, while the defense and intelligence business grew 24 percent to $81.1 million.

In the commercial sector, DigitalGlobe and GeoEye supply imagery to location-based applications such as Google Maps (GOOG.O) and navigation device and smartphone makers such as Garmin Ltd (GRMN.O) and Nokia Oyj NOK1V.HE.

DigitalGlobe said it won contracts with the Indian government and SAAB Ab (SAABb.ST) and expanded its location services contract with AutoNavi Holdings Ltd AMAP.O during the third quarter.

It expects revenue growth of 18 to 21 percent for the full year, up from its earlier view of 16 percent growth.

“Our results this quarter are evidence of our progress transforming DigitalGlobe into a high-growth, scalable, recurring revenue information business,” Chief Executive Jeffrey Tarr said.

    DigitalGlobe’s profit for the quarter ended September 30 rose to $8.5 million, or 18 cents per share, from $1.1 million, or 2 cents per share, a year earlier.

    Revenue rose 31 percent to $107.2 million.

    Analysts on an average expected earnings of 14 cents a share, on revenue of $97.7 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

    Shares of the Longmont, Colorado-based company closed at $23.47 on Friday on the New York Stock Exchange. Major U.S. stock markets were closed on Monday and Tuesday due to Hurricane Sandy.

    Reporting by Tej Sapru in Bangalore; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty; Editing by Maju Samuel

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