Broadband-by-satellite operator OneWeb has won another significant investor.
Hanwha Systems, a South Korean technology company, is investing $300 million in equity in OneWeb which will shortly start services from its fleet of Low Earth Orbiting satellites.
In return, Hanwha will receive an 8.8 per cent stake in OneWeb. It can also contribute its latest antenna technology developments to OneWeb as well as providing “relationships to new government customers and expanded geographical reach” according to a statement.
The fresh cash brings the total now invested in post-Chapter 11 OneWeb to $2.7 billion, and the satellite operator stresses it has no debt. The investment is expected to be completed in the first half of 2022, subject to regulatory approvals.
OneWeb’s first generation fleet of 648 satellites that will deliver global coverage in 2022 is fully funded. To date, the company has launched 254 satellites into orbit, with another launch planned in about 10 days from Baikonur, Kazakhstan.
“Thanks to the success of recent launches, OneWeb’s network will be ready to offer connectivity services from 50th parallel and above by the end of 2021,” states the company.
The fresh cash means that OneWeb has attracted major investments from Bharti Enterprises, Eutelsat, SoftBank of Japan, and the UK government as well as Airbus.
Neil Masterson, CEO at OneWeb, said: “Hanwha brings advanced defence and antenna technology development to the OneWeb line-up. We are all delighted that they have chosen to join us on this journey of innovation, shaping a global service to connect the most remote locations and to provide a critical digital pathway from space to our interconnected world.”
UK Business Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng said: “Today’s $300m investment in OneWeb by Hanwha is the latest in a series of votes of confidence in the company from the market. It’s clear that leading global investors see a promising future for this ground-breaking company and a robust commercial case for investment. “The Government’s equity stake in OneWeb not only allows the UK to capitalise on our first-mover advantage to deploy low Earth orbit technology but will put our country at the forefront of the small satellite market, which is set to rapidly expand over the years ahead.”
Sunil Bharti Mittal, Founder and Chairman of Bharti Enterprises, said: “We welcome Hanwha to OneWeb. These are exciting and fast paced times in the space sector. With Hanwha alongside, we will be able to access the highest quality of technological thinking and development. They are a powerful partner in our global mission to connect the world.”
Youn Chul KIM President, CEO and Director at Hanwha Systems said: “We are pleased to join hands with OneWeb, which has strength in the LEO communication area, the core of space business. To OneWeb ‘s vision of connecting all the people across the globe, Hanwha System’s satellite and antenna technology will bring more advantages.”