May 2, 2018 / 9:21 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 2-Inmarsat defeated by shareholders over executive pay

* Remuneration report rejected by 58 pct of shareholders

* Satellite company’s Q1 revenue rise 5 pct

* Says maritime, aviation performing well

* Shares up as much as 10 pct (Adds AGM result)

By Paul Sandle

LONDON, May 2 (Reuters) - Investors in Inmarsat voted against the British satellite firm’s remuneration report as they made clear their unhappiness at executive rewards for a year in which the company’s shares fell 35 percent.

Some 58.5 percent of shares voted opposed the report in a non-binding vote at the company’s AGM on Wednesday.

Chairman Andrew Sukawaty said he recognised that shareholders had concerns, and he would consult with them further before next year’s annual general meeting.

A new remuneration policy would be put forward for shareholder approval at next year’s AGM, he said.

Chief Executive Rupert Pearce was paid 1.88 million pounds ($2.56 million) in 2017, according to its annual report.

His payout was down on the 2.35 million pounds he received in 2016, in part reflecting the fall in the share price, remuneration committee chairman Simon Bax said in the report.

Earlier on Wednesday, the company said growing demand for wifi on flights helped it get 2018 off to a good start, sending its shares up as much as 10 percent.

Inmarsat, which provides communications for shipping, aircraft and for governments, reported a 5 percent rise in first-quarter revenue to $345.4 million.

Core earnings slipped 4.5 percent to $174.9 million, which the company said reflected less government work in the quarter.

Pearce said it was a solid start to the year, with Inmarsat’s core maritime operations and its fast-growing aviation services both performing well.

“We are seeing a predictable pattern start to develop here,” he told Reuters in a phone interview after the results.

“Overall 5 percent revenue growth is I think a good performance during tough market conditions.”

Pearce said the company was performing particularly well in aviation, driven by in-flight connectivity for commercial airlines. The number of aircraft with its Global Xpress service installed rose to 245 at the end of the first quarter, from 194 at the end of last year.

“The in-flight connectivity business Ebitda (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) is now close to break even and operating free cash is improving significantly - that is something investors have been concerned about,” Pearce said.

Inmarsat said in March it would not slow investment in in-flight connectivity, despite some risks to cash flow from a separate contract with a U.S. company that uses its airwaves.

The company kept its outlook, targeting mid-single digit revenue growth on average over the next five years, unchanged from March.

$1 = 0.7352 pounds Editing by Susan Fenton and Adrian Croft

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