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NewSat Jabiro satellite-project stalls

Australia’s NewSat plan for a new satellite (Jabiro-1) has been in trouble for some time over funding the build and launch of the proposed satellite. Now one of its major backers has pulled back placing the project for Australia’s first independent and locally-owned satellite in jeopardy.

The project has already missed some key funding dates, and now the Sydney Morning Herald reports that Europe’s COFACE speciality export bank has declined to grant the project an extension of time. Arianespace has reportedly issued a ‘termination’ notice on NewSat with a 30-day deadline for compliance.

A statement from NewSat says: “NewSat was orally advised by members of the COFACE Lender Group and its counsel that … COFACE was not in favour of supporting the [extension],” the company said in a statement. “NewSat has not received formal written advice from COFACE as to its position. The result of the COFACE position is that the COFACE Lender Group will not presently advance further funds under the COFACE-guaranteed credit facilities unless and until COFACE changes its position.”

The project’s new financial advisor, Peter J Solomon Company is exploring options to raise such amounts and possibly additional amounts that may be necessary in order for the lending group to resume funding,” says NewSat, adding the process could take “several weeks”.

The lack of funding threatens to further hurt NewSat’s schedule with satellite builder Lockheed Martin, and Arianespace.

“In the event the current difficulties are not timely resolved, Lockheed Martin could terminate its satellite manufacturing agreement … [which] would result in a loss of the company’s ability to carry on with the Jabiru-1 project,” it said. “Given the suspension of funding from the Jabiru-1 project lenders and the lack of other available capital, NewSat has been unable to make interim payments to Arianespace.

Payments to its Arianespace must resume by May 3rd.

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