Asiasat Signs Contract With Hughes For Its Fourth Satellite
Asia Satellite Telecommunications Co. Ltd. [SAT] has awarded the contract to build its Asiasat 4 satellite to the Hughes Space and Communications subsidiary of Hughes Electronics Corp. [GMH]. The contract is significant for Hughes, in light of the 1999 regulatory tightening of U.S. licensing for the export of U.S.-built satellites to foreign customers, particularly due to the People’s Republic of China’s control of Hong Kong-based Asiasat’s owners, the China International Trust and Investment Corp. (CITIC).
Tim Logue, a consultant with the Coudert Brothers law firm, said, “The confirmation of the contract sends a hopeful signal that U.S. manufacturers can still sell to established customers. However, we won’t really know which way the export control winds are blowing until the satellite is shipped years from now.”
Hughes, the world’s largest satellite manufacturer and the builder of Asiasats 1 and 3, and generates roughly 40 percent to 60 percent of its business from foreign customers.
Asiasat 4, the carrier’s fourth satellite, is scheduled for launch in the first half of 2002.