Avanti shares hit by losses

Shares in the telecoms satellite group Avanti Communications plunged out of orbit yesterday after its full-year revenues and losses came in worse than the City had expected.

The shares dropped by 19 per cent, or 65p, to 283.75p, a near-six-month low.

Two directors, including the chief executive, David Williams, took advantage to top up their holdings in the group, buying at 305p a share.

Mr Williams said: "We are satisfied that orders are flowing at the level necessary to meet our long-term targets to fill our fleet, although the shape of the curve to get us there varies a little from plan.

"We are applying the right strategy in Europe."

But analysts said that despite the jump in revenues from £6.1m to £15m, it was some £2m below average forecasts. Losses of £16m before tax were also above consensus estimates.

The group started operating its second satellite yesterday, which covers Africa and the Middle East.