UrtheCast steps closer to critical financing

This 2015 Deimos-2 image shows the Fernando de Noronha archipelago; 354km off the Brazilian coast, the area is a UNESCO World Heritage site and Brazil-designated maritime national park (Deimos Imaging)

19 May 2018

UrtheCast appears to be a step closer to realising its planned six-satellite UrtheDaily optical constellation, with the revelation that it has entered into a binding credit agreement for a previously announced $142 million line of credit. The money will be used to finance the construction, launch and deployment of the constellation, and for related working capital and general corporate purposes.

First drawdown of the credit facility is “subject to a number of conditions” including completion of its syndication. The Vancouver-based Earth observation company aims to have the 5m resolution multispectral constellation launched and operating in 2020.

This step forward in financing UrtheDaily follows publication earlier this week of first quarter results that included a warning that the company continues to face “significant liquidity challenges with recurring operating losses and negative cash flows” and “significant doubt as to the ability of Urthecast to continue as a going concern”.

Revenue for the quarter was just C$4.3 million – less than half of the C$9.4 million in the year-ago period; a net loss of C$11.1 million was more than twice the C$5.1m deficit last time. For the quarter, Earth observation imagery revenue stood at just C$1.0 million – C$1.6 million in Q1 2017 – “due to an ongoing delay in securing a major contract award”; that ongoing delay had previously been linked to the fall in full year EO revenue, just C$7.8m in 2017 compared to C$15.2m in 2016.

An eventful week for UrtheCast also saw its Madrid-based Deimos Imaging subsidiary secure a $2.6 million, three-year contract to supply images and services to the Brazilian defence ministry’s aeronautics command. Deimos is to collect new satellite imagery and provide access to its archived catalogue.

Total full-year 2017 revenue was just C$40.4m, compared to C$111.3m in 2016. 2016’s result included non-cash revenue of $61.4m related to cameras UrtheCast has mounted on the International Space Station – whose asset value was written down to zero by end-2017. The 2017 net loss was C$31.8m, versus C$29.3m lost in 2016.

UrtheCast’s business today is based on the output of the Deimos-1 and -2 satellites and distribution of products from the various PanGeo Alliance satellites.