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Salomon SB Lowers Viasat Opinion

Viasat (VSAT) reported $0.04 (excluding a charge) vs. $0.20 fourth quarter EPS (pro forma) despite a 5.1% revenue rise. Salomon Smith Barney cut its rating on the shares to neutral from outperform.

Analyst Armand Musey says the downgrade follows Viasat's unimpressive Q4 results and the lack of a clear short term outlook from management. Musey notes that the $0.04 Q4 EPS figure excludes a $4.8 million write-off of accounts receivable at Viasat's OrbComm unit and is well below his $0.20 EPS estimate. He cut his $0.75 fiscal 2003 (ending March) EPS estimate to $0.50 and his $1.00 forecast for fiscal 2004 to $0.75. He likes the company on a fundamental level, but does not see its stock having significant potential for appreciation until management is able to re-establish a visible earnings growth path. The analyst cut his $15 price target for Viasat to $9.

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