Nippon Iridium To Be Liquidated : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Nippon Iridium To Be Liquidated Updated 9:47 AM ET March 16, 2000

TOKYO (AP) - A Japanese affiliate of the troubled U.S. satellite phone venture Iridium LLC sought government approval on Thursday to liquidate its operations. Japan's Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications is expected to approve the request as soon as Saturday, said a spokesman for DDI Corp., a telecommunications provider that holds a 50.5 percent stake in Nippon Iridium Corp.

Seven-year-old Nippon Iridium is set to halt its satellite phone services that same day, the unidentified spokesman told Dow Jones Newswires.

The U.S. operator of the Iridium service filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in August, and losses accumulated by the Japanese unit have dragged on DDI's earnings.

In its interim earnings report for the fiscal year ending this month, DDI posted an extraordinary loss of 25.6 billion yen ($242.7 million) related to its investment in Nippon Iridium.

The move to shut down Nippon Iridium came a day after U.S.-based Iridium received a reprieve from a bankruptcy court.

With only hours to go before Iridium would have been forced to begin closing down its pioneering service, the court extended the deadline for the company to find a new backer.

Iridium was launched by U.S. telecommunications giant Motorola Inc. in 1991 to provide worldwide mobile phone service via satellite

-- Martin Thompson (, March 16, 2000

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