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Bull of the Day: Maxar Technologies (MAXR)

DOD and SpaceX contracts keep this key provider of intelligence and systems launching at 1X sales

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This story originally appeared on Zacks

Maxar Technologies MAXR is a $2.2 billion provider of space technology including satellite imagery and expert intelligence services. Along with spacecraft and robotics for space exploration, research and national security, Maxar helps customers understand and better navigate the evolving planet, deliver global broadband communications, and engage our greatest frontier yet with the right infrastructure.

Remarkably, the company is trading for under 1.2 times sales, projected to grow 5.5% to $1.87 billion this year.

Maxar has two segments — Earth Intelligence and Space Infrastructure — both of which operate in the Earth Observation and Satellite Manufacturing markets.

Earth Intelligence (accounting for 60.1% of total revenues in third-quarter 2021): Maxar is a global leader in high-resolution space-based Earth observation imagery products and analytics. It launched the world’s first high-resolution commercial imaging satellite in 1999 and currently operates a four-satellite imaging constellation. The segment offers imagery solutions delivering mission-critical information about the changing planet and supports a range of government and commercial applications. Maxar’s main customers in this segment are U.S. and international federal agencies (primarily defense and intelligence wings), as well as commercial customers in multiple markets. It also provides geospatial services that combine imagery, analytic expertise, and innovative technology to deliver intelligence solutions to customers.

Space Infrastructure (39.9% of revenues): In this segment, Maxar builds and tests solutions for space-based communications satellites, Earth observation, on-orbit servicing, robotic assembly, and space exploration. It is partnering with the U.S. government in new space opportunities leveraging its high-performance spacecraft subsystems. Its principal customers in this segment are commercial satellite operators and government agencies worldwide. Maxar has built and launched more than 285 spacecraft with a combined 2,750 years of on-orbit service. It has more than 30 years of experience in space robotics, having developed all five robotic arms on the Mars landers and rovers. It has 90 Geosynchronous Equatorial Orbit (GEO) satellites and 26 Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites currently in service.

Innovation in the News

In late December, Maxar Technologies announced it had extended agreements with three defense customers. The company announced contract extensions with three long-standing international defense and intelligence customers. The three agreements total more than $100M and extend these customers' ability to directly task and download 30 cm-class satellite imagery to their ground stations from Maxar's current constellation under Maxar's Direct Access Program.

This program enables defense, intelligence and commercial customers to access the world's most advanced Earth imaging satellites, with encrypted downlinks, committed availability and data distribution rights that fit mission needs. One of the contracts provides a commitment to purchase direct access to Maxar's next-generation WorldView Legion satellites, the first of which are expected to launch between May 15-June 13, 2022. This is the company's second commitment for WorldView Legion capacity.

Also in December, Maxar was selected by the U.S. DOD Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) to produce robotic arms for on-orbit servicing of satellites and other space vehicles.

Analyst Reactions

On December 13, Goldman Sachs named Maxar as one of its top picks with 75% upside for shares.

But on Dec 20, Maxar Technologies saw its price target lowered to $32 from $40 at Canaccord Genuity. Analyst Austin Moeller noted that Maxar had issued a press release indicating they have secured a launch window with SpaceX for the first two Legion EO satellites but also indicated that the first two satellites remain in the testing phase, with hardware performance testing, software testing and environmental testing still in progress.

This view has probably kept a lid on the stock's advance recently.

Among other positive views, Baird analyst Peter Arment upgraded L3Harris Technologies LHX to Outperform from Neutral with an unchanged price target of $248, citing its discount to other defense prime contractors, and called it a top pick for 2022 in the space. The analyst, who noted that most defense stocks valuations have been resetting as budgets peaked, sees good value for certain stocks in the space and highlighted Maxar Technologies (MAXR) as his other top pick and a current Fresh Pick for 2022.

Eyes All Over the Planet

Maxar appears to be an affordable way to play the space industry. I recently bought it for my Zacks TAZR Trader portfolio.

In addition to helping scientists monitor extreme weather conditions and wildfires, Maxar also has eyes on geopolitical maps like the Ukraine that allow more access to information. The company was recently mentioned in the Wall Street Journal article "Russia's Military Buildup Near Ukraine Is an Open Secret" because "Satellite images, social media posts and flight-tracking data allow private analysts to track details governments once classified."

Thanks to Maxar eyes in the sky, the more we know, the better.

- Zacks


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