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GSAT > SEC Filings for GSAT > Form 10-K on 15-Mar-2013All Recent SEC Filings

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Form 10-K for GLOBALSTAR, INC.


15-Mar-2013

Annual Report


Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

The following discussion and analysis should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and applicable notes to our consolidated financial statements and other information included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including risk factors disclosed in Part I, Item IA. The following information contains forward-looking statements, which are subject to risks and uncertainties. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, our actual results may differ from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. See "Forward-Looking Statements" at the beginning of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates

Our discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations are based on our consolidated financial statements, which have been prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States. The preparation of these financial statements requires us to make estimates and assumptions that affect the amounts reported in our consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes. Note 1 to our consolidated financial statements contains a description of the accounting policies used in the preparation of our financial statements. We evaluate our estimates on an ongoing basis, including those related to revenue recognition; property and equipment; income taxes; derivative instruments; inventory; allowance for doubtful accounts; pension plan; stock-based compensation; long-lived assets; and litigation, commitments and contingencies. We base our estimates on historical experience and on various other assumptions that we believe are reasonable under the circumstances. Actual amounts could differ significantly from these estimates under different assumptions and conditions.

We define a critical accounting policy or estimate as one that is both important to our financial condition and results of operations and requires us to make difficult, subjective or complex judgments or estimates about matters that are uncertain. We believe that the following are the critical accounting policies and estimates used in the preparation of our consolidated financial statements. In addition, there are other items within our consolidated financial statements that require estimates but are not deemed critical as defined in this paragraph.

Revenue Recognition

Our primary types of revenue include (i) service revenue from two-way voice communication and data transmissions and one-way data transmissions between a mobile or fixed device and (ii) subscriber equipment revenue from the sale of Duplex two-way transmission products, SPOT consumer retail products, and Simplex one-way transmission products. Additionally, we generate revenue by providing engineering and support services to certain customers. We provide Duplex, SPOT and Simplex services directly to customers and through resellers and IGOs.

Duplex

For our Duplex customers and resellers, we recognize revenue for monthly access fees in the period services are rendered. Access fees represent the minimum monthly charge for each line of service based on its associated rate plan. We also recognize revenue for airtime minutes in excess of the monthly access fees in the period such minutes are used. Under certain annual plans where customers prepay for a predetermined amount of minutes, we defer revenue until the minutes are used or the prepaid time period expires. Unused minutes accumulate until they expire, at which point revenue is recognized for any remaining unused minutes. For annual access fees charged for certain annual plans, revenue is recognized on a straight-line basis over the term of the plan.

We expense or charge credits granted to customers against revenue or deferred revenue upon issuance.

We expense certain subscriber acquisition costs, including such items as dealer commissions, internal sales commissions and equipment subsidies at the time of the related sale.

SPOT and Simplex

We sell SPOT and Simplex services as annual or multi-year plans and recognize revenue ratably over the service term or as service is used, beginning when the service is activated by the customer. We record amounts received in advance as deferred revenue.

IGO

We earn a portion of our revenues through the sale of airtime minutes or data packages on a wholesale basis to IGOs. We recognize revenue from services provided to IGOs based upon airtime minutes or data packages used by their customers and in accordance with contractual fee arrangements. If collection is uncertain, we recognize revenue when cash payment is received.

Equipment

Subscriber equipment revenue represents the sale of fixed and mobile user terminals, accessories and our SPOT and Simplex products. We recognize revenue upon shipment provided title and risk of loss have passed to the customer, persuasive evidence of an arrangement exists, the fee is fixed and determinable, and collection is probable.

Other

We also provide certain engineering services to assist customers in developing new technologies related to our system. We recognize the revenues associated with these services when the services are rendered, and we recognize the expenses when incurred. We recognize revenues and costs associated with long-term engineering contracts on the percentage-of-completion basis of accounting.

Property and Equipment

We capitalize costs associated with the design, manufacture, test and launch of our low earth orbit satellites. We track capitalized costs associated with our satellites by fixed asset category and allocate them to each asset as it comes into service. For assets that are sold or retired, including satellites that are de-orbited and no longer providing services, we remove the estimated cost and accumulated depreciation. We recognize a loss from an in-orbit failure of a satellite as an expense in the period it is determined that the satellite is not recoverable.

We depreciate satellites over their estimated useful lives, beginning on the date each satellite is placed into service. We evaluate the appropriateness of estimated useful lives assigned to our property and equipment and revise such lives to the extent warranted by changing facts and circumstances.

We review the carrying value of our assets for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the recorded value may not be recoverable. We look to current and future undiscounted cash flows, excluding financing costs, as primary indicators of recoverability. If we determine that impairment exists, we calculate any related impairment loss based on fair value.

Income Taxes

We use the asset and liability method of accounting for income taxes. This method takes into account the differences between financial statement treatment and tax treatment of certain transactions. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are recognized for the future tax consequences attributable to differences between the financial statement carrying amounts of existing assets and liabilities and their respective tax basis. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are measured using enacted tax rates expected to apply to taxable income in the years in which those temporary differences are expected to be recovered or settled. Our deferred tax calculation requires us to make certain estimates about our future operations. Changes in state, federal and foreign tax laws, as well as changes in our financial condition or the carrying value of existing assets and liabilities, could affect these estimates. We recognize the effect of a change in tax rates as income or expense in the period that the rate is enacted.

We are required to assess whether it is more likely than not that we will be able to realize some or all of our deferred tax assets. If we cannot determine that deferred tax assets are more likely than not recoverable, we are required to provide a valuation allowance against those assets. This assessment takes into account factors including: (a) the nature, frequency, and severity of current and cumulative financial reporting losses; (b) sources of estimated future taxable income; and (c) tax planning strategies.

Derivative Instruments

We recognize all derivative instruments as either assets or liabilities on the balance sheet at their respective fair values. We record recognized gains or losses on derivative instruments in the consolidated statements of operations.

We estimate the fair values of our derivative financial instruments using various techniques that are considered to be consistent with the objective of measuring fair values. In selecting the appropriate technique, we consider, among other factors, the nature of the instrument, the market risks that embody it and the expected means of settlement. We determine the fair value of our interest rate cap using pricing models developed based on the LIBOR rate and other observable market data. That value is adjusted to reflect nonperformance risk of both the counterparty and us. For the conversion rights and features embedded within the 8.00% Notes and the warrants issued with the 8.00% Notes, we use the Monte Carlo valuation technique to determine fair value. For the contingent put feature embedded in the 5.0% Notes, we use the Monte Carlo valuation technique to determine fair value. Valuations derived from these models are subject to ongoing internal and external verification and review. Estimating fair values of derivative financial instruments requires the development of significant and subjective estimates that may, and are likely to, change over the duration of the instrument with related changes in internal and external market factors. Our financial position and results of operations may vary materially from quarter-to-quarter based on conditions other than our operating revenues and expenses.

Inventory

Inventory consists of purchased products, including fixed and mobile user terminals and accessories. We compute cost using the first-in, first-out (FIFO) method and state inventory transactions at the lower of cost or market. Inventory write-downs are measured as the difference between the cost of inventory and market, and are recorded as a cost of subscriber equipment sales - reduction in the value of inventory. At the point of any inventory write-downs to market, a new, lower cost basis for that inventory is established, and any subsequent changes in facts and circumstances do not result in the restoration of the former cost basis or increase in that newly established cost basis.

We review product sales and returns from the previous 12 months and future demand forecasts and write off any excess or obsolete inventory. We also assess inventory for obsolescence by testing finished goods to ensure they have been properly stored and maintained so that they will perform according to specifications. In addition, we assess the market for competing products to determine that the existing inventory will be competitive in the marketplace. We also record a liability for firm, noncancelable, and unconditional purchase commitments with contact manufacturers and suppliers for quantities in excess of our future demand forecasts consistent with the valuation of our excess and obsolete inventory.

If there were to be a sudden and significant decrease in future demand for our products, or if there were a higher incidence of inventory obsolescence because of rapidly changing technology and customer requirements, we could be required to write down our inventory, and our liability for purchase commitments with contract manufacturers and suppliers, and accordingly gross margin could be adversely affected.

Allowance for Doubtful Accounts

We maintain an allowance for doubtful accounts for estimated losses resulting from the inability of some of our customers to make required payments. We review these estimated allowances on a case by case basis, analyzing the customer's payment history and information regarding the customer's creditworthiness known to us. In addition, we record a reserve based on the size and age of all receivable balances against those balances that do not have specific reserves. If the financial condition of our customers deteriorates, resulting in their inability to make payments, we would record additional allowances.

Pension Plan

We calculate our pension benefit obligation and expense using actuarial models. Critical assumptions and estimates we use in the actuarial calculations include discount rate, expected rate of return on plan assets and other participant data, such as demographic factors, mortality, and termination.

We determine discount rates annually based on our calculated average of rates of return of long-term corporate bonds. We based discount rates on Moody's and Citigroup's annualized yield curve index as of December 31, 2012 and 2011. The discount rate used at the measurement date decreased to 3.75% from 4.00% in 2011. A 100 basis point increase in our discount rate would reduce our benefit obligation by $2.2 million.

We determine expected long-term rates of return on plan assets based on an evaluation of our plan assets, historical trends and experience, taking into account current and expected market conditions. Plan assets are comprised primarily of equity and debt securities. The rate of return on plan assets decreased to 7.12% from 7.50% in 2011. To determine the rates of return, we consider historical experience and expected future performance of plan assets.

Stock-Based Compensation

To measure compensation expense, we use valuation models which require estimates such as, forfeitures, vesting terms (calculated based on market conditions associated with a certain award), volatility, and risk free interest rates. Additionally we recognize stock-based compensation expense over the requisite service periods of the awards on a straight-line basis, which is generally commensurate with the vesting term.

Long-Lived Assets

We review long-lived assets for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of any asset may not be recoverable. In the event of impairment, we write the asset down to its fair market value.

Litigation, Commitments and Contingencies

We are subject to various claims and lawsuits that arise in the ordinary course of business. Estimating liabilities and costs associated with these matters requires judgment and assessment based on professional knowledge and experience of our management and legal counsel. The ultimate resolution of any such exposure may vary from earlier estimates as further facts and circumstances become known.

Performance Indicators

Our management reviews and analyzes several key performance indicators in order to manage our business and assess the quality of and potential variability of our earnings and cash flows. These key performance indicators include:

total revenue, which is an indicator of our overall business growth;

subscriber growth and churn rate, which are both indicators of the satisfaction of our customers;

average monthly revenue per user, or ARPU, which is an indicator of our pricing and ability to obtain effectively long-term, high-value customers. We calculate ARPU separately for each type of our Duplex, Simplex, SPOT, and IGO revenue;

operating income and adjusted EBITDA, which are both indicators of our financial performance; and

capital expenditures, which are an indicator of future revenue growth potential and cash requirements.

Comparison of the Results of Operations for the years ended December 31, 2012 and 2011

Revenue:

Total revenue increased by $3.5 million, or approximately 5%, to $76.3 million for 2012 from $72.8 million in 2011. During the first quarter of 2011, we recognized $2.0 million in nonrecurring revenue as a result of the termination of our Open Range partnership. Excluding this revenue recognized, total revenue increased $5.5 million, or approximately 8%. We attribute this increase to higher sales of Simplex equipment and increased service revenue as a result of growth in our SPOT and Simplex subscriber base. These increases were offset primarily by decreases in sales of SPOT equipment due to the introduction of new product offerings in early 2011. The majority of the subscribers we gained as a result of higher SPOT equipment sales in 2011 is in our current subscriber base and continues to generate service revenue.

The following table sets forth amounts and percentages of our revenue by type of service for 2012 and 2011 (in thousands):

                                  Year Ended                          Year Ended
                               December 31, 2012                   December 31, 2011
                                            % of Total                         % of Total
                           Revenue            Revenue         Revenue            Revenue
Service Revenues:
Duplex                   $     18,438                24 %   $     19,778                 27 %
SPOT                           25,227                33           19,753                 27
Simplex                         6,146                 8            5,495                  8
IGO                               804                 1            1,533                  2
Other                           6,853                 9            8,838                 12
Total Service Revenues   $     57,468                75 %   $     55,397                 76 %

The following table sets forth amounts and percentages of our revenue for equipment sales for 2012 and 2011 (in thousands).

                                                  Year Ended                          Year Ended
                                               December 31, 2012                   December 31, 2011
                                                           % of Total                          % of Total
                                          Revenue            Revenue          Revenue            Revenue
Equipment Revenues:
Duplex                                  $      2,652                  4 %   $      1,826                  3 %
SPOT                                           4,997                  7            7,932                 11
Simplex                                        9,081                 12            6,431                  9
IGO                                              990                  1            1,128                  1
Other                                          1,130                  1              113                  -
Total Equipment Revenues                $     18,850                 25 %   $     17,430                 24 %

Other equipment revenue includes sales of accessories to support our current lineup of Duplex, SPOT and Simplex products.

The following table sets forth our average number of subscribers, ARPU, and ending number of subscribers by type of revenue for 2012 and 2011. The following numbers are subject to immaterial rounding inherent in calculating averages.

                                                                  December 31,
                                                               2012          2011

Average number of subscribers for the period (year ended):
Duplex                                                          88,189        93,963
SPOT                                                           221,911       177,247
Simplex                                                        164,459       136,037
IGO                                                             42,252        47,920

ARPU (monthly):
Duplex                                                       $   17.42     $   17.54
SPOT                                                              9.47          9.29
Simplex                                                           3.11          3.37
IGO                                                               1.59          2.67

Number of subscribers (end of period):
Duplex                                                          84,330        92,047
SPOT                                                           241,081       202,741
Simplex                                                        188,158       140,760
IGO                                                             41,146        43,357
Other                                                            7,239         7,548
Total                                                          561,954       486,453

Other service revenue includes primarily revenue generated from engineering services and our former Open Range partnership, which is not subscriber driven. Accordingly, we do not present average subscribers or ARPU for other revenue in the above charts.

Service Revenue

Duplex revenue decreased approximately 7% in 2012 from 2011. Our two-way communication issues continue to affect our Duplex revenue. Despite our efforts to maintain our Duplex subscriber base by lowering prices for our Duplex equipment, our subscriber base decreased by approximately 8% during 2012. During 2012, we began a process to convert certain Duplex customers to higher rate plans commensurate with our improved service levels. As a result, we have experienced some additional churn in our subscriber base. As a result of launching and placing into service our second-generation satellites, we are experiencing increases in demand for our Duplex two-way voice and data products. As these units are activated, we expect to see increases in the related Duplex service in the future.

SPOT revenue increased approximately 28% in 2012. We generated increased service revenue from SPOT and added additional service revenue from the release of other SPOT consumer retail products sold during 2011, which are reflected in our 2012 subscriber base. Our SPOT subscriber base increased by approximately 19% during 2012. Our subscriber count includes suspended subscribers, who are subscribers who have activated their devices, have access, but no service revenue is being recognized for their fees while we are in the process of collecting payment. These suspended accounts represented 19% and 20% of our total SPOT subscribers as of December 31, 2012 and 2011, respectively. Beginning in 2013, we initiated a process to deactivate these suspended accounts.

Simplex revenue increased approximately 12% in 2012 from 2011. We generated increased service revenue due to a 34% increase in our Simplex subscribers during 2012. Revenue growth for our Simplex customers is not necessarily commensurate with subscriber growth due to the various competitive pricing plans we offer and product mix.

Other revenue decreased approximately 22% in 2012. This decrease related to the nonrecurrence in 2012 of revenue recognized as a result of the termination of our Open Range contract in the first quarter of 2011. Excluding the recognition of Open Range revenue of approximately $2.0 million, other revenue remained consistent, which was due primarily to higher engineering services revenue and higher activation fees recognized during 2012 compared to 2011. These increases were offset by decreases in service revenue recognized from third party sources.

Equipment Revenue

Duplex equipment sales increased by approximately 45% in 2012. As a result of launching and placing into service our second-generation satellites, we are experiencing increased demand for our Duplex two-way voice and data products. As these units are activated, we expect to see increases in the related Duplex service in the future. As we place into service the remaining second-generation satellites that we launched in February 2013, our two-way communication reliability will continue to improve, and we expect Duplex equipment revenue to increase.

Our inventory and advances for inventory balances were $42.2 million and $9.2 million, respectively, as of December 31, 2012, compared with subscriber equipment sales of $18.9 million for 2012. A significant portion of our inventory consists of Duplex products which are designed to operate with both our first-generation and our second-generation satellites. Our advances for inventory relate to our commitment with Qualcomm to purchase additional Duplex products. In May 2008, we entered into an agreement with Hughes under which Hughes will design, supply and implement (a) RAN ground network equipment and software upgrades for installation at a number of our satellite gateway ground stations and (b) satellite interface chips to be a part of the UTS in various next-generation Globalstar devices.

We sold a limited number of Duplex products in 2012 and 2011, compared to the high level of inventory on hand. However, we have several initiatives underway intended to increase future sales of Duplex products, which depend upon successfully completing the deployment of our second-generation constellation. With the improvement of both coverage and quality for our Duplex services resulting from the deployment of our second-generation constellation, we expect an increase in the sale of Duplex products which would result in a reduction in the inventory currently on hand.

SPOT equipment sales decreased approximately 37% in 2012. The decrease relates primarily to higher sales of certain new SPOT consumer retail products which were released in early 2011 which did not recur in 2012. We anticipate introducing additional SPOT products during 2013 that we expect will further drive sales, subscriber and revenue growth.

Simplex equipment sales increased approximately 41% in 2012. The increase is due primarily to continued success of our commercial applications for M2M asset monitoring and tracking.

Operating Expenses:

Total operating expenses increased $25.2 million, or approximately 17%, to $171.3 million from $146.1 million in 2011. This increase is primarily due to the $22.0 million agreed termination charge related to the settlement with Thales regarding the construction of Phase 3 satellites, as well as the recognition of a loss of approximately $7.1 million related to an adjustment made to the carrying value of our first-generation constellation. Excluding these one-time items, total operating expenses decreased $3.9 million, or 3%, during 2012 due to decreases in various components of operating expenses, partially offset by higher depreciation expense of $19.8 million as a result of additional second-generation satellites coming into service throughout 2011 and 2012.

Cost of Services

Cost of services decreased $6.0 million, or approximately 21%, to $23.2 million from $29.2 million in 2011. Cost of services is comprised primarily of network operating costs, which are generally fixed in nature. The decrease during the year was due primarily to implementation of our plans to lower costs by monitoring operating expenses and streamlining operations.

Cost of Subscriber Equipment Sales

Cost of subscriber equipment sales increased $1.4 million, or approximately 11%, to $13.3 million from $11.9 million in 2011. These increases were due primarily to increases in equipment revenue of 8% for 2012 from 2011. These increases were offset slightly by lower manufacturing costs for our SPOT and Simplex products.

Marketing, general and administrative

Marketing, general and administrative expenses decreased $8.1 million, or approximately 19%, to $34.3 million from $42.4 million in 2011. This decrease was due primarily to higher legal fees incurred during 2011 related to the arbitration with Thales, and our recording a provision for contingent payroll reimbursements as a result of our relocation agreement with the State of Louisiana during 2011. We also experienced decreases across all expense categories due to improvements in our cost structure from monitoring operating costs and streamlining operations.

Contract Termination Charge

During the second quarter of 2012, we recorded a contract termination charge of 17.5 million. This charge related to the agreement between us and Thales regarding construction of additional second-generation satellites. See Note 9 to our Consolidated Financial Statements for further discussion.

Reduction in the Value of Inventory

. . .

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