Com Dev (TSX:CDV) today announced it had successfully launched the exactView 1 (EV-1) satellite. The polar-orbiting satellite is equipped with an advanced second-generation AIS detection payload which the company says will enhance vessel detection and tracking performance in areas of denser shipping traffic.
Peter Mabsen, the president of Com Dev’s exactEarth division said: “Today’s launch marks another important step in the ongoing expansion of our global vessel monitoring service,” adding: “This launch helps ensure that exactEarth will continue to provide the world’s most comprehensive and high-performance satellite-based AIS service for years to come.”
Launched in 2009, exactEarth is a satellite-based automatic identification system that can aid in search and rescue, helps optimize shipping routes through shipping vessel tracking and allows for better environmental investigation and monitoring. Today’s launch was the fifth deployment of an exactEarth satellite.
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Com Dev management had hoped exactEarth could buttress flatlining sales in its traditional business of manufacturing things like antennas, switches signal processors and batteries for the space industry. But the company’s stock lagged well after the launch of exactEarth, falling from $6.46 in late December 2006 to $2.58 in September of 2009, then bottomed out at $1.60 in September of last year. The middling performance cost then CEO John Keating his job a year prior.
2012, however, has been a year of relief for Com Dev shareholders. The company’s stock has rebounded to recent highs above the $3 mark on the back of increased manufacturing orders. Com Dev recently won a (US) $12-million order from Boeing, and a $10-million contract from Space Systems/Loral Inc. While exactEarth revenue is still small, contributing just $2.5-million to the company’s recent Q2 topline of more than $50-million, new CEO Michael Pley says the company’s second half 2012 revenue will exceed the $97-million it recorded in the first half by approximately 10%.
The company says that, as of April 30th, it had a order backlog of approximately $150-million.
Shares of Com Dev closed today down 1% to $2.98.