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Why Maxar Technologies Stock Popped 21%

By Rich Smith – May 3, 2019 at 10:12AM

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A big insurance check will help Maxar build its WorldView Legion "constellation" of satellites.

What happened

Shares of Canadian space tech company Maxar Technologies (MAXR 1.97%) wowed investors today with a big gain out of the gate -- up 21.4% as of 10:50 a.m. EDT. And I don't like to say "I told you so," but yeah, I kind of did.

Several months ago, Wall Street was giving up on Maxar stock, disheartened by the company's loss of its WorldView-4 satellite, a victim of failed gyros that prevented the satellite from operating properly. The good news is that Maxar had its satellite insured against such catastrophic failures and was hoping to offset the $155 million loss in book value with a $183 million insurance claim.

Schematic of satellites orbiting the globe.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

This morning, Maxar confirmed that its insurers are going to make that entire payout -- $183 million, cash. Insurance payments from some insurers are already in the bank, and Maxar says the rest of the money should be received "within 30 days."

Now what

On the one hand, this is good news because it helps to make Maxar whole after its disaster of earlier this year. On the other hand, it's arguably even better news, because with this cash in hand, Maxar can more quickly pivot away from operating the kind of large digital-imaging satellites that are falling out of favor and instead invest its money in a new fleet of flexible, economical small satellites to broaden its coverage of the globe.

Maxar already has a name for the new satellite constellation: WorldView Legion. And now it has the money to build it.

Rich Smith has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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