Shares of Iridium World Communications Ltd., the publicly traded arm of the satellite-telephone company, were delisted by the Nasdaq Stock Market yesterday and fell as low as 50 cents a share in their first trades since filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in August.
The shares fell 68 3/4 cents, to $2.37 1/2. They're now listed on the "pink sheets," a daily table that gives information on over-the-counter stocks not listed on the Nasdaq.
Iridium filed for bankruptcy protection after failing to attract enough subscribers to its 66-satellite global telephone network. The company, which expected 600,000 subscribers by the end of the year, had only signed an estimated 20,000 subscribers as of August, when it defaulted on $1.55 billion in bank loans. Iridium didn't appeal the delisting.
"Until we are through with the restructuring process we don't see any reason to appeal the decision," Iridium spokeswoman Michelle Lyle said. "Once the restructuring process is complete, we'll have to go through the application process to get traded on Nasdaq again."
Several Iridium investors were surprised the shares were trading at $2.37 1/2. They expected the stock to fall into the pennies.
"While it's ridiculous for the Iridium shares to trade for more than a nickel, it's absolutely ludicrous for them to trade at an equity value that's more than 2 1/2 times the trading value of all $1.45 billion senior bonds," said John Motulsky of Stonehill Institutional Partners, which owns Iridium's senior bonds.
Iridium's 14 percent notes due in 2005 were little changed at about 7 cents on the dollar. They have declined as much as 93 percent since the start of the year.
An Iridium competitor, ICO Global Communications Ltd., also filed for bankruptcy protection in August after failing to raise enough financing.
Shares of Iridium World Communications were halted from Nasdaq trading on Aug. 13, the day before the bankruptcy filing.