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Ron Baron Comments on Iridium Communications Inc

July 28, 2014 | About:
Vera Yuan

Vera Yuan

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Iridium (IRDM), a satellite enabled voice and data communications company, had declined from over $9 per share in 2013 to $6.10 this year when we invested in that business. Iridium provides unique and valuable communications services to the Department of Defense. It also enables machine to machine communications (The Internet of Things) as well as enabling flight safety improvements and improved airline economics.

Iridium Communications Inc. operates a group of satellites used for worldwide voice and data communication from hand-held satellite phones and other transceiver units. The stock rose significantly in the second quarter, driven by increasing investor confidence in its growth prospects. We participated in a capital raise by Iridium, purchasing its convertible preferred stock. Iridium used its proceeds to fund the build of an advanced satellite constellation. We believe this will be a unique asset with significant growth opportunities around M2M (machine to machine) and flight safety and control (Aireon). Its Department of Defense businesses will continue to provide significant cash flow. (Gilad Shany)

Iridium Communications Inc. provides mobile voice and data communication services using a constellation of low-earth orbiting (LEO) satellites. Due to its unique architecture, IRDM’s constellation is the only network with full coverage across the globe (including polar regions, open ocean and other remote locations). Over the next three years, IRDM will deploy its next generation constellation which will allow it to add significant capabilities and accelerate growth in new markets (M2M or machine-to machine, aviation, maritime and more).We believe one of these initiatives (Aireon) has the potential to save billions of dollars through commercial aviation route optimization and improve its real time coverage. In today’s “always on, always connected” world, the need for connectivity is ever growing. IRDM’s current business (government and commercial) is contracted and recurring. Complementing this with growth opportunities, we believe, will allow IRDM to expand margins, improve its returns on investments and optimize its capital structure and returns to shareholders. (Gilad Shany)

From Ron Baron (Trades, Portfolio)’s Baron Funds Second Quarter 2014 Report.


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