I am delighted to have had the opportunity to join Hughes early this year at such an exciting and eventful period in the company’s history. After several corporate transactions, Hughes emerged in March as a publicly traded company, trading on the over-the-counter bulletin board (OTC) under the symbol HGCM. Our major shareholder, Apollo, owns approximately 66 percent of our stock.
I believe that our public status affects business in a very positive way. In fact, we are very proud to have delivered a very strong first quarter as a public company with $197 million in revenue, a 10 percent increase over the same period last year. A profitable first quarter of 2006 has gotten us off to a great start, and our status as a separate public company enables us to truly show the world what we can do.
In preparation for our bond offering, CEO Pradman Kaul and I went on a whirlwind coast-tocoast U.S. tour in March and April, presenting the Hughes story to over 100 accounts. Thanks to all of the people at Hughes who assisted in this process, we had a very crisp story about our market leadership, direction, and confidence in our future. As a result, the offering was a tremendous success. It was three times oversubscribed, which means that investors understood our story and were willing to invest in our future.
Consequently, we were able to increase the size of the deal from our original $375 million to $450 million at very attractive interest rates and fewer restrictions than our original bank debt. This has provided enough cash on hand to fully fund the significant expenditures required to build, insure, launch, and manage the SPACEWAY™ 3 satellite and provide additional cash for general corporate purposes.
I am pleased to say that a number of events have put Hughes higher on the external radar screen. Starting with the purchase from DIRECTV® and the rights offering, followed by the bond offering memorandum and road show, the company went on to make its stock available for public trading and launch new branding initiatives. These events have significantly increased our visibility with a much larger audience, including shareholders, analysts, bondholders, employees, and customers.
Looking to the future, a key goal is to build long-term sustainable, profitable growth. Continued development of our international markets and the successful management of SPACEWAY will also be important building blocks to Hughes’ future. We look forward to expanding our domestic leadership in the consumer and small business segments as well as the North American network and services business, and to continue to receive value from our mobile satellite and terrestrial microwave businesses.
Above all, nothing is more important than our people. The spirit and teamwork displayed throughout the company is second to none. I am very proud that Hughes has once again received workplace recognition with the 2006 ‘Workplace Excellence’ Seal of Approval for the State of Mayland from the National Work~Life Alliance. I would like to assure Hughes employees that the company is continuing its commitment to provide a great place to work and a challenging environment that encourages personal growth, professional development, and rewards. I don’t think the future has ever looked brighter.