May 14, 2020 / 4:29 AM / 12 days ago

UPDATE 2-Intelsat files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

(Adds details from company statement, filing, background)

By Rama Venkat

May 13 (Reuters) - Satellite operator Intelsat SA said late on Wednesday that it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, making it the latest casualty of severe business disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company listed assets and liabilities in the range of $10 billion to $50 billion, according to a filing in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Intelsat also said it had received $1 billion in debtor-in-possession financing.

The pandemic has inflicted widespread financial pain across sectors including retail and aviation, with many companies considering bankruptcy options as a way to restructure their debt load.

The company's Chapter 11 filing comes more than a month after it suspended its 2020 outlook and said it would delay filing its first-quarter results.

Intelsat is among a number of companies that will participate in the accelerated clearing of C-band spectrum under the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) order to support a build-out of 5G wireless infrastructure in the United States.

"To meet the FCC's accelerated clearing deadlines and ultimately be eligible to receive $4.87 billion of accelerated relocation payments, Intelsat needs to spend more than $1 billion on clearing activities," the Luxembourg-based company said in a statement.

The FCC declined to comment.

Intelsat General, which serves the company's U.S. commercial, government and allied military customers, is not part of the Chapter 11 proceedings, the company said. (Reporting by Rama Venkat and C Nivedita in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)

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