Today's Falling Knife: Avanti Crashes 15%


LONDON -- Satellite operator Avanti Communications (ISE: AVN.L) announced its preliminary full-year results this morning -- and shares promptly plummeted 14.8%, or 51.75 pence, to 297 pence at the time of writing.

A loss was expected, as fellow Fool Alan Oscroft pointed out recently that "the firm has recorded a pre-tax loss for the past two years, and a loss of over [9 million pounds] is expected for the year to June. But there is a very small profit forecast for 2013." However, the preliminary report showed an estimated 15.76 million pound operational loss, more than 2011's loss of 12.86 million pounds.

The company provides satellite-based high-speed broadband, and announced the formal launch of its second operational satellite, HYLAS 2, which is now open for service on all beams over the emerging telecommunications markets of Africa and the Middle East. The preliminary report also announced the news that there is "22% more capacity available for sale than originally expected due to technical successes (11GHz versus 9GHz)," as well as stating that its third satellite is fully financed and under construction for launch in 2015.

Elsewhere, after an interest charge of 0.25 million pounds, the Group reported a loss before tax of 16 million pounds (2011: loss 12.7 million pounds), and Avanti has carried forward net tax losses of 22 million pounds (2011: 12 million pounds). But revenues and other operating income increased 246% to 15 million pounds, compared to 2011's figure of 6.1 million pounds.

Avanti chairman John Brackenbury, CBE, commented:

This has been a year of very strong growth for Avanti. The momentum of launching our second satellite in as many years to expand coverage to a total of 53 countries has created very significant demand. This is now evidenced in our contract backlog which grew by 57% in the year. Within the emerging markets that Avanti serves our flexible and resilient technology is winning business from customers who urgently need reliable, high quality communications.

Having previously reached a 52-week high of 419 pence, it's up to investors to decide whether the shares are now in value territory. Indeed, at the end of 2010, they reached as high as 735 pence -- so at their current price, could they rocket from here?

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Sam Robson does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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