Gilat reveals $63m exposure to WorldCom in backlog

The fallout from the collapse of WorldCom (Nasdaq:WCOM) is landing on Israel's Internet-by-satellite company Gilat Satellite Networks (Nasdaq:GILTF) ( GILTF), as revealed in the company's statement to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

In its 20F document for 2001, Gilat discloses that $63 million of its $230 million backlog of orders, as of year-end 2001, was related to WorldCom.

Gilat customarily discusses its backlog once a year, and will probably do so in its conference call before the bell on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the 20F shows that the company's backlog of orders stood at $230 million at year-end 2001, sharply down from the $300 million posted at the end of 2000.

In 1998 WorldCom MCI chose Gilat as subcontractor to supply VSATs very small aperture terminals to the U.S. Postal Service. Although the contract did not stipulate minimum purchase orders by the USPS, it did mention initial hookup of 10,000 small offices, growing to 26,000 over the ten-year project.

The VSAT service was allows the USPS offices to carry out billing, point of sale and credit-card processing, mail delivery confirmation, multimedia applications and a host of other uses.

By the end of December Gilat had hooked up 4,600 small offices, and set up 7,000 VSATs for backup services to existing Worldcom Frame Relay networks at large offices.

Now WorldCom's fall may impact on the USPS project, reducing Gilat's backlog even more, though theoretically another telecommunications company could take WorldCom's stead in the project.

On Wednesday Gilat is expected to report a second-quarter loss of $14.3 million, or 61 cents per share, on revenues of $70 million. In the previous quarter the company lost $12.9 million, on revenues of $72 million.

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