United States: Space Business Review - July 2013

A monthly round-up of space industry developments for the information of our clients and friends.


On July 31, Eutelsat Communications S.A. (Eutelsat) announced an agreement to acquire 100% of Satélites Mexicanos S.A. de C.V. for approximately $1.14b in cash, financed through a dedicated bridge facility. The acquisition, which is pending government approvals but is expected to close by year's end, advances Eutelsat's global expansion strategy by establishing the company as a major satellite operator in Latin America.


On July 25, Abertis Infraestructuras S.A. (Abertis) announced an agreement with Spain's National Institute of Aerospace Technology (INTA) for the acquisition of INTA's 16.42% equity interest in Hispasat, S.A. for approximately $228.8m. The transaction, which remains subject to Spanish government approval, increases Abertis' stake in Hispasat to 57.05%. The balance of Hispasat's equity is held by Eutelsat S.A., with 33.69%, and two Spanish government institutions, with 9.26%. To date, Abertis has made a total investment of roughly $630m for its controlling stake in Hispasat.


On July 9, Kymeta Corporation (Kymeta) announced that it has closed a $50m Series C financing to fund its continued growth with participation from existing stakeholders Bill Gates, Lux Capital Management LLC and Liberty Global, Inc. and new investors Osage University Partners and the Kresge Foundation. Kymeta is a manufacturer of satellite communications antennas and is currently developing patented metamaterials that will enable antenna beam steering without any moving parts.


Milbank is pleased to announce that Phillip L. Spector has joined the Firm as Of Counsel, resident in the Washington, D.C. office. A widely recognized attorney and business executive in the satellite and telecommunications industries, Mr. Spector most recently served as Executive Vice President, Business Development, and General Counsel of Intelsat S.A., and before that was in private practice. He has extensive experience with strategic ventures, m&a, financings, procurements, government affairs and corporate governance matters.


June 28 – The Indian government announced that it has approved a proposal from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for the development of the GSAT-15 and GSAT-16 satellites, to be manufactured by ISRO and launched by a presently undesignated foreign launch services provider for a total combined cost of roughly $289m. The satellites will provide additional Ku-band capacity for a variety of satellite-based services, including DTH, and for emergency and civil aviation applications.
July 17Satélites Mexicanos S.A. de C.V. (Satmex) announced that it has exercised an option to procure a second satellite from Boeing Satellite Systems International, Inc. under the agreement it signed last year to purchase, between itself and Asia Broadcast Satellite Holdings Ltd. (ABS), a total of four 702SP satellites. Designated as Satmex 9, the satellite will carry 48 Ku-band transponders and provide DTH and telecommunication services to users in Latin America from the 116.8°W orbital slot.
July 23Space Systems/Loral, LLC announced that it has been selected by Intelsat S.A. to manufacture the Intelsat 34 satellite based on the SSL 1300 platform. Scheduled for launch in 2015, Intelsat 34 will replace the Intelsat 805 and Galaxy 11 satellites at the 304.5°E orbital position and will provide C- and Ku-band capacity for media broadcasting in Latin America and aeronautical applications in the North Atlantic.


On July 25, Arianespace S.A. successfully launched the Alphasat/I-4A F4 and INSAT 3-D satellites on an Ariane 5 launch vehicle. Alphasat/I-4A F4, Europe's largest ever telecommunications satellite, is the product of a PPP between Inmarsat plc and the European Space Agency. Based on the new Alphabus platform jointly developed by EADS Astrium and Thales Alenia Space, Alphasat/I-4A F4 carries an L-band geo-mobile communications relay system and will provide voice and data transmission services across Europe, Africa and the Middle East. INSAT 3-D was built by the Indian Space Research Organisation based on the India I-2K platform and carries a 6-channel imager, a 19- channel sounder and a search and rescue transponder for observation of meteorological trends and land, air and sea routes.

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