MCLEAN, Va., Feb. 28, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Iridium Communications Inc. (Nasdaq:IRDM) ("Iridium") today reported financial results for the fourth quarter of 2012 and issued its outlook for the full-year 2013. Net income was $16.7 million, or $0.19 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of 2012, as compared to $8.4 million, or $0.11 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of 2011. Net income increased 99 percent year-over-year, benefiting from a $5.8 million reduction in depreciation expense due to an extension of the estimated useful life of the Company's current satellite constellation. Operational EBITDA ("OEBITDA") (1) for the fourth quarter was $52.3 million, as compared to $44.3 million for the prior-year period, representing year-over-year growth of 18 percent and an OEBITDA margin (1) of 57 percent. OEBITDA benefited from growth in commercial service revenue and lower operating costs.
Iridium reported fourth-quarter total revenue of $92.3 million, which consisted of $66.8 million of service revenue and $25.5 million of equipment, engineering and support revenue. Total revenue declined 3 percent versus the comparable period of 2011, while service revenue was unchanged from the year-ago period. Total revenue declined largely due to a $2.4 million reduction in engineering and support revenue, which is an episodic, low-margin revenue stream related to government engineering projects. Service revenue, which represents primarily recurring revenue from Iridium's growing subscriber base, was 72 percent of total revenue for the fourth quarter of 2012 as compared to 70 percent in the year-ago period.
The Company ended the quarter with 611,000 total billable subscribers, which compares to 523,000 for the year-ago period and is up from 595,000 for the quarter ended September 30, 2012. Total billable subscribers grew 17 percent year-over-year, driven by strength in machine-to-machine ("M2M") and commercial voice customers."Our satellite network is healthy and continues to serve our customers well," said Matt Desch, CEO, Iridium. "The Iridium NEXT build is on budget and slightly ahead of schedule. Our partners continue to innovate around the industry's most robust product portfolio, meeting the needs of customers across a diverse spectrum of business lines. Highly profitable service revenue grew to represent 71% of total revenue in 2012, while our operating cash flow margin expanded from 50% to 54%, which is well on the way to our 2015 objective of 60%. While our annual service revenue growth of 4% fell short of our full-year target, the long-term growth potential of our business remains intact."