Intelsat Delays Satellite Launch

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Intelsat, upbeat about business being generated by the creation of HD networks, is delaying one of its satellite launches this year, officials said Thursday.

Intelsat, the biggest provider of fixed-satellite service, outlined its plans during a second-quarter conference call.

Intelsat also disclosed that BC Partners, which is spending $5 billion to acquire a majority stake in the satellite provider, is bringing in another unnamed equity partner into the deal. The acquisition is expected to close in either the fourth quarter or the first quarter next year, according to David McGlade, Intelsat’s CEO.

McGlade told analysts that the company sees a big opportunity due to the bumper crop of HDTV networks that programmers are rolling out. In fact, about half of Intelsat’s transponders have been converted to digital, in part to accommodate HDTV services.

Intelsat’s next satellite launch will be Intelsat 11 in September. But the launch of Horizons-2, also originally set for September, has been pushed back, most likely to December, according to company officials. 

The launch of Galaxy 18 is slated for next February, from Sea Launch’s floating platform.

Intelsat reported revenue of $543.2 million, an increase of $232.7 million, or 75%, in the second quarter. The 2006 period included a $20.6 million one-time termination charge, and the former PanAmSat business contributed about $223.1 million to revenue gain.

Intelsat acquired PanAmSat a year ago for $3.2 billion.

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