By Chibuike Oguh
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Shares of Viasat plunged as much as 36% to hit a roughly one-year low on Thursday after the U.S. satellite communications company revealed that one of its key satellites had malfunctioned during of its deployment in space.
The company’s ViaSat-3 Americas satellite developed an unexpected flaw during its deployment – an issue that could affect its performance, Viasat announced after markets closed on Wednesday, adding that it had launched a review.
The satellite, which launched aboard SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket on April 30, is a key part of Viasat’s plan to expand its broadband business in the Americas.
Shares of Viasat were down 28.5% at $30.73 in the early afternoon trading session. The stock was on track for its biggest single-day percentage decline on record, surpassing a 27.7% decline in April 2001, according to Refinitiv data.
California-based Viasat provides Internet connectivity to consumers, commercial and private aviation, and the defense industry. The company said it was working to minimize the economic impact of the faulty satellite by redeploying other satellites from its fleet.
Viasat completed its $7.3 billion acquisition of rival British satellite Inmarsat in May after winning approval from European Union regulators. Viasat owns and operates four geostationary satellites in Earth orbit while Inmarsat owns 15.
(Reporting by Chibuike Oguh in New York; Editing by Will Dunham)