Arabsat wraps HellasSat purchase

Arabsat has completed the purchase of Greek satellite operator HellasSat. A number of Arabsat executives have joined the HellasSat board of directors.  HellasSat was controlled by Greek telephone company OTE. Arabsat says that it has earmarked a $700 million investment programme for two new satellites for HellasSat.

The $208 million deal was announced in February and the deal saw the Arab satellite company  paying $157 million for HellasSat plus a payment of $53.4 million for the cash reserves held by HellasSat. The total of $208 million will give Arabsat 99.05 per cent of the Greek business. The remaining 0.95 per cent share is held by the operation’s original founders.

HellasSat has been on the sales forecourt for some two years, and the need for OTE to sell down the asset had been exacerbated by Greece’s current economic situation.

Arabsat will win access to the valuable 39 degrees East orbital position as well as the 30 active transponders on HellasSat-2, built by Astrium and launched in 2003. The satellite has n expected lifetime of 15 years, which suggests that it will have to be replaced in the next 4-5 years.

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