Growth again for Inmarsat

INMARSAT admitted its future with LightSquared is on the rocks and urged investors to “take a conservative stance on payments being received” from the US wireless company, which was the “primary driver” of revenue growth at Inmarsat in 2010 but defaulted on its most recent $56m (£36m) rent cheque.

But the British satellite group said it was confident of a return to growth – albeit a modest one – next year.

Inmarsat boss Rupert Pearce told City A.M.: “No one is optimistic about LightSquared getting resuscitated – they’ve got serious regulatory problems in the US they need to solve.

“But green shoots of recovery in the last year point to a return to growth in our mobile satellite service franchise.”

Pearce noted Inmarsat’s new maritime FleetBroadband service is “ramping up subscribers at record levels”, with average revenue per user up 15 per cent over the year as customers transfer to the cheaper service but use it more.

Inmarsat grew annual revenues 20 per cent to $1.4bn, with pre-tax profits up 10 per cent to $367m.

Pearce expects future growth rates to be fuelled by the launch of Global Xpress, the firm’s its new super-fast broadband network for the government, energy, maritime and aviation sectors, and in-flight connectivity for air passengers, which is at “a tipping point – in a couple of years it will be a must have”.