Iridium Announces First-Quarter Results
Tuesday, April 20, 2021 | Comments

Iridium Communications reported financial results for the first quarter of 2021 and reiterated its full-year 2021 outlook.

Net loss was $5.2 million, or $0.04 per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2021, compared to net loss of $31.7 million, or $0.24 per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2020. This decrease in net loss was primarily the result of the absence of debt extinguishment costs, which were incurred in the year-ago period with Iridium refinancing its senior unsecured notes.

Operational earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (OEBITDA) for the first quarter was $89.8 million, as compared to $92.1 million for the prior-year period, representing a year-over-year decrease of 2% and an OEBITDA margin of 61%. The change in OEBITDA primarily resulted from service revenue in the prior-year's quarter being relatively unaffected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Iridium reported first-quarter total revenue of $146.5 million, which consisted of $116.2 million of service revenue and $30.3 million of revenue related to equipment sales and engineering and support projects. Total revenue increased 1% from the comparable period of 2020, while service revenue was essentially flat to the year-ago period. Service revenue, which represents primarily recurring revenue from Iridium's growing subscriber base, was 79% of total revenue for the first quarter of 2021.

The company ended the quarter with 1.518 billion total billable subscribers, which compares to 1.332 billion for the year-ago period and is up from 1.476 billion for the quarter ended December 31. Total billable subscribers grew 14% year-over-year, driven by growth in commercial and government internet of things (IoT) customers.

"Iridium delivered first-quarter results in line with our forecast,” said Iridium CEO Matt Desch. “While total revenue increased, it's hard to compare this quarter's performance to the pre-pandemic period a year earlier. Subscribers grew at a double-digit pace, led by ongoing demand for consumer-oriented IoT devices, and Iridium's commercial IoT subscribers eclipsed one million users on our network this quarter. We feel very good about Iridium's ability to accelerate service revenue growth over the balance of the year based upon the positive feedback and activity we are seeing with our business partners."

Government service revenue was $25.8 million in the first quarter. Iridium's government business ended the quarter with 153,000 subscribers, compared to 140,000 for the year-ago period and is up from 152,000 for the quarter ended December 31. Government voice and data subscribers rose 7% from the year-ago period to 63,000 as of March 31. IoT data subscribers increased 11% year-over-year and represented 59% of government subscribers, an increase from 58% at the end of the prior-year period.

The company reiterated its full-year 2021 outlook and other elements of long-term guidance. It expects total service revenue growth of approximately 3% for the full year of 2021. Total service revenue for 2020 was $463.1 million. Full-year 2021 OEBITDA is expected to be between $365 million and $375 million. OEBITDA for 2020 was $355.6 million.

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