DigitalGlobe (NYSE:DGI) just released mixed third-quarter results, and the market is responding by pushing shares down around 3% in Thursday's after-hours trading. But that doesn't mean the satellite image purveyor's results were bad.
DigitalGlobe's quarterly revenue fell 6.2% year over year, to $154.6 million, which translated to a narrower net loss of $0.1 million. That's essentially breakeven on a per-share basis, thanks, in part, to DigitalGlobe's repurchase of nearly 496,000 shares of stock for roughly $15 million during the quarter. Analysts, on average, were expecting DigitalGlobe to turn in a $0.01 per share loss on slightly higher sales of $155.2 million.
Worldview-3 is officially up and running
Perhaps most importantly, the highlight of DigitalGlobe's third quarter was the successful August 13, 2014 launch of its WorldView-3 satellite, which is capable of collecting images of Earth at a stunning resolution of 0.31m. According to DigitalGlobe, that makes it "the world's highest resolution and most capable commercial earth observation satellite."
Better yet, calibrations for WorldView-3 were completed on Oct. 1, 2014, which enabled the company to begin providing visible spectrum imagery to its customers. As a result, that same day, DigitalGlobe was also able to begin recognizing revenue from its EnhancedView Service Level Agreement with the NGA at a new annualized rate of $337 million -- an increase of $50 million per year.
GeoEye fully integrated; WorldView-4 on its way
DigitalGlobe also finally wrapped up its 18-month integration of GeoEye this quarter, which enabled it to fully realize it's $120 million synergy target. Even as of last quarter's blurry report, the merger of the two companies had already created a de facto monopoly, and yielded more than $115 million in annual operating cost synergies.
In addition, DigitalGlobe CEO Jeffrey Tarr says the company completed pre-storage construction on its next-gen WorldView-4 satellite, which will be capable of collecting even sharper 30 centimeter resolution images. For perspective, in late July, DigitalGlobe announced plans to accelerate the launch of WorldView-4 to mid-2016.
Tarr said at the time the move was made in response to the U.S. Government's decision to allow DigitalGlobe to sell its highest-quality imagery to commercial clients. According to then-CFO Yancey Spruill, that opened up a potential $400 million-per-year global addressable market, which is currently being dominated by high-res offerings from aerial surveyors.
Finally, DigitalGlobe raised the bottom-end of its previous full-year 2014 guidance by $10 million, resulting in a new guidance range of $640 million to $660 million. By contrast, analysts were only modeling full-year 2014 revenue of $644.8 million.
At the same time, however, DigitalGlobe now expects capital expenditures to be around $185 million for the year, representing an increase of $15 million over its guidance provided three months ago. To its credit, DigitalGlobe explained that CapEx increase stems from a reduction in year-end payables related to satellite construction projects. It also still sees full-year adjusted EBITDA margin of roughly 43%, with Q4 adjusted EBITDA margin of roughly 50% at the mid-point of its new revenue guidance.
Despite what the market's reaction might indicate given DigitalGlobe's small top-line miss, I think this was a solid report that should leave investors with plenty to look forward to. DigitalGlobe has spent the better part of the last few years investing to bring disparate pieces of its long-term puzzle in place. Going forward, it appears poised to finally start enjoying the fruits of those investments.
Steve Symington has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends DigitalGlobe. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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