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Eutelsat admits it is biding its time and patiently waiting for the day when it can control all of Hispasat, and not just the 33.69 per cent it currently owns.
Back in July 2013 Spanish infrastructure giant Abertis bought a 16.42 per cent slice of Hispasat from Spain’s National Institute of Aerospace Technology (INTA) which is part of Spain’s Defence Ministry, paying a total of €172.5 million for the shares. The additional stake boosted Abertis’ total holding to 57.05 per cent.
Eutelsat’s CEO Michel de Rosen, speaking to analysts during the satellite operator’s end-of-year results on July 31st admitted that Eutelsat would have preferred to be the buyer “but the Spanish government preferred a Spanish buyer” he said, adding that Eutelsat recognised that Abertis might wish one day to exit from its satellite segment and focus on its key roads and highways business. De Rosen said that should this happen – and it was by no means certain – then Eutelsat could exercise an existing ‘Put’ option, or take action on its Pre-emption rights over any shareholding that came up for sale. Eutelsat would therefore stay as a shareholder in Hispasat.
This is directly contrary to a statement issued by Abertis last year when it said that it planned to fully consolidate its stake in Hispasat.
Hispasat has itself been on the expansion trail and has been in negotiation to buy – or invest – in Israel’s Spacecom and its fleet of AMOS satellites. However, since announcing its interest in April the newsflow has dried up.