WASHINGTON — Shareholders in British satellite operator Avanti voted overwhelmingly to remove the company from the London Stock Exchange, agreeing with management that the company is better off privately held.
Avanti is the third satellite operator to withdraw from public trading this year, following AsiaSat, which delisted from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange Sept. 5, and Inmarsat, whose $3.3 billion buyout is expected to close by year’s end.
The delistings are taking place at a time when many satellite operators are reassessing their business plans amid uncertainty about new technologies and changing demands for communications services.
Shareholders controlling 92% of Avanti’s stock voted in favor of delisting, comfortably passing the minimum 75% threshold, the company said Sept. 5. Avanti said its shares will stop trading Sept. 17.
Avanti first disclosed plans to delist Aug. 20, saying that complying with regulatory requirements imposed on publicly traded companies takes too much time and money without producing benefits. At the time, the company’s stock was trading for just over 1 British pound, down from its 52-week high of 5 pounds a share, valuing the company at around 26 million pounds ($32 million). Since announcing its delisting plans, Avanti’s stock has continued to fall, closing Sept. 5. At 0.25 pounds a share, reducing the company’s market capitalization to 8.6 million pounds.
After four years without completing any equity fundraising, Avanti said private capital is its “only realistic source” of new funding.
Avanti is still in the early stages of executing a new business plan focused less on consumer broadband and more on cellular backhaul, selling satellite capacity to other operators, and selling to the U.S. Defense Department. So far Avanti has benefited from the new strategy, having reported an 80% increase in year-over-year backlog to to $156.4 million as of June 30.
Avanti, whose revenues have declined since 2015, reported $30.2 million in revenue for the first six months of this year, a $4.6 million increase year-over-year.
Avanti said progress turning its business around doesn’t detract from the value it sees in going private. Delisting will, among other things, reduce administrative costs by around half a million dollars annually, the company said.
Avanti has three satellites in geostationary orbit, plus a hosted payload on Airbus’ and the European Space Agency’s EDRS-C lasercomm satellite, and a leased payload on SES’s Astra 5B satellite. It uses those Ka-band satellites and payloads to provide connectivity services across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.