Satellite operator Intelsat becomes latest casualty of Covid-19 disruption

Intelsat said it had received US$1 billion in debtor-in-possession financing. PHOTO: INTELSAT/INSTAGRAM

BENGALURU (REUTERS) - Satellite operator Intelsat SA said late on Wednesday (May 13) that it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, making it the latest casualty of severe business disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The company listed assets and liabilities in the range of US$10 billion to US$50 billion (S$14.2 billion-S$71 billion), according to a filing in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Intelsat also said it had received US$1 billion in debtor-in-possession financing.

The pandemic has inflicted widespread financial pain across sectors including retail and aviation, with many companies considering bankruptcy options as a way to restructure their debt load.

The company's Chapter 11 filing comes more than a month after it suspended its 2020 outlook and said it would delay filing its first-quarter results.

Intelsat is among a number of companies that will participate in the accelerated clearing of C-band spectrum under the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) order to support a build-out of 5G wireless infrastructure in the United States.

"To meet the FCC's accelerated clearing deadlines and ultimately be eligible to receive US$4.87 billion of accelerated relocation payments, Intelsat needs to spend more than US$1 billion on clearing activities," the Luxembourg-based company said in a statement.

The FCC declined to comment.

Intelsat General, which serves the company's US commercial, government and allied military customers, is not part of the Chapter 11 proceedings, the company said.

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