Inmarsat leaps on firm revenues

Shares in global satellite phones firm Inmarsat jumped nearly 11 per cent after better-than-expected half-year sales under its new chief executive Rupert Pearce.

Revenues held steady at $684m (£440m) as strong maritime revenues offset a drop in usage in Afghanistan by the government. Pre-tax profits fell 12.5 per cent at $222.8m, but analysts at Jefferies were upbeat, saying: "We see more to come."

The company said price changes for its maritime broadband products, including a minimum price per month, were boosting customer take-up and usage.

The group, which provides communications for shipping, aircraft and military and humanitarian operations in remote locations, posted core earnings of $176m. That topped forecasts — analysts were expecting $162.8m according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S data — although earnings were down from $223m a year ago.

The drop was due to the suspension of payments from LightSquared, the troubled US telecoms company that had planned to use Inmarsat's spectrum to develop a mobile network.

The shares were up 52.7p to 537p.