Iridium reports lower 4Q earnings, higher revenue

MCLEAN, Va. (AP) — Satellite communications provider Iridium Communications Inc. said Tuesday that its fourth-quarter net income declined, weighed by higher expenses and income taxes even as revenue grew. The results beat Wall Street's expectations, sending the company's stock higher in morning trading.

Iridium earned $8.4 million, or 11 cents per share, down 17 percent from earnings of $10.1 million, or 14 cents per share, in the same period a year earlier.

Revenue rose 8 percent to $95 million from $87.9 million.

Analysts, on average, were expecting earnings of 9 cents per share on revenue of $92.2 million, according to a poll by FactSet.

Iridium booked $79.2 million in operating costs in the latest quarter, up 9 percent from $72.9 million a year earlier. Its income tax provision was $4.8 million, up from $2.7 million.

The company said it ended the quarter with 523,000 billable subscribers, up from 427,000 a year earlier.

"2011 was a record year for Iridium as we reached important milestones for subscriber, service revenue and cash flow growth," said Matt Desch, CEO, in a statement.

For the full year, Iridium earned $39.7 million, or 54 cents per share, up 75 percent from $22.7 million, or 31 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose 10 percent to $384.3 million from $348.2 million.

The company said it expects the number of billable subscribers to grow by 20 percent to 25 percent in 2012.

Shares rose 37 cents, or 5 percent, to $7.77 in morning trading while the broader markets were down more than 1 percent. The stock has traded in the 52-week range of $5.50 and $10.04.