Arabsat buys HellasSat
February 8, 2013
By Chris Forrester
HellasSat, part of Greece’s OTE telecoms company, is being bought by Saudi Arabia-based Arabsat. The Arab satellite company is 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 has 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.
Arabsat says the deal will wrap in Q2 this year. Khalid A. Balkheyour, the President & CEO of Arabsat commented: “This step outlines Arabsat’s determination to pursue its strategic plan to grow its resources in terms of expanding to new orbital slots and new frequency rights, and to enter new markets. In 2012, Arabsat has presented before the satellite industry its vision to move from regional to global and become one of the top 5 satellite operators in the world by the year 2020. This transaction, in addition to the new 6th satellite generation program encompassing the design, manufacturing and launch of 3 new satellites from now until 2016 proves that Arabsat is on the right track to achieve its vision.”