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    Comsat Corp.
    list rank

    From the April 28, 1997 Washington Post

    '96 (in $ 000s) % Change From '95
    Revenue 1,015,000 17.6
    Net Income 8,600 (77.3)
    Rank Last Year: 25

    Comsat transmits telephone calls, electronic data and video images to and from the United States using satellites owned by two international consortia, Intelsat and Inmarsat. Ascent Entertainment Group Inc., a Denver-based company of which Comsat owns 80 percent, provides video programs to U.S. hotels, owns a television and video production company, the Denver Nuggets professional basketball team and the Colorado Avalanche hockey team. Comsat is a publicly traded company created by Congress during the Kennedy administration as the only U.S. signatory to the global satellite consortium Intelsat. It owns a 19 percent share of Intelsat.

    Business Resume:
    • Contact Info --
      6560 Rock Spring Dr.
      Bethesda, Md. 20817
    • Main Business --
    • Founded --
    • Chairperson --
      C.J. Silas
    • President --
      Betty C. Alewine (CEO)
    • Employees --
    • D.C.-Area Employees --
    Comsat made a sharp shift in direction in July, when it announced the resignation of chief executive Bruce Crockett, a 16-year Comsat veteran who had steered the company toward the entertainment industry through Ascent's ownership of hotel movie services, the sports teams and a movie studio.

    New chief executive Betty C. Alewine said she would return Comsat to its core business of providing satellite services and expanding in overseas markets.

    In October Alewine announced Comsat would sell its remaining 80 percent stake in Ascent. To date there have been no takers. In March Comsat announced it would put its RSI satellite-dish manufacturing unit up for sale. The company also sold 68 percent of its stake in London-based ICO Global Communications Group Ltd., which hopes to provide satellite-based wireless phone service. Comsat also began marketing its Planet 1 portable satellite phone service, which provides voice, fax and mail services anywhere in the world. The laptop computer-sized device sells for $3,000, with service billed at $3 per minute.

    Comsat's goal of focusing on core satellite communications suffered a setback in early February when a final vote on a plan to restructure Intelsat for a new competitive era was delayed until 1998. Comsat and the U.S. government had pushed Intelsat's 140 members to break Intelsat into two separate entities, one that would provide regulated basic services and another that would be a competitive global company.

    On Feb. 22 the company reported a $29.2 million decline in profit for 1996, fueled by a $11.5 million loss in the fourth quarter. Alewine attributed the poor performance to Ascent's acquisition of Spectravision, a rival in the hotel movie business, cost overruns on construction programs in Comsat's RSI equipment division, and stiff price competition in the mobile satellite services business. The company's best-performing division was its international unit, which had a 53 percent increase in revenue in 1996, to $58 million from $38 million.

    Copyright 1997 The Washington Post

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