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Eutelsat Sells Stake in Airbus OneWeb Joint Venture, Lowers Guidance

By Mark Holmes | January 30, 2024

      A OneWeb satellite. Photo: Airbus OneWeb Satellites

      Eutelsat has completed the sale of OneWeb’s 50% share in the Airbus OneWeb Satellites joint venture. The co-owner of the Florida-based business, Airbus U.S. Space & Defense, acquired the stake. The company built the satellites for the OneWeb First Generation constellation. Eutelsat announced the completion of the sale on Jan. 29, along with an update on OneWeb’s revenue progress.

      “We are proud to have partnered with Airbus in this joint venture which has assured the successful build of OneWeb’s First Generation constellation, and we are confident the business will continue to thrive by addressing the growing demand for small sats, with a best-in-class, competitive offer. Looking ahead, Eutelsat Group will benefit from being able to call on a more diversified range of suppliers for its future in-orbit needs, including Airbus which remains one of our most trusted partners,” Massimiliano Ladovaz of Eutelsat Group, said in a statement.

      Separately, Eutelsat released a trading update that it is lowering revenue guidance for fiscal year 2023-24. Revenues are now expected in a range of 1.25 billion euros to 1.3 billion euros, versus previous guidance of 1.32 billion euros to 1.42 billion euros.

      The legacy Eutelsat business remains on track with expected performance and confirms a return to top line growth for FY 2023-24, mainly driven by the entry into service of satellites Eutelsat 10B and Konnect VHTS.

      However, the story about OneWeb is not as positive. While OneWeb had $1.1 billion backlog at the end of the last quarter, it is running behind schedule relative to the original roadmap. This reflects delays in the availability of the ground network, as well as a revenue mix more oriented than expected towards the sale of user terminals, which impacts margins. The delay in the ground network impacts revenues, especially in mobility and in certain geographies where market access is still outstanding.

      Eutelsat said the deployment of the ground network is progressing well, towards a 90% completion rate in the second quarter of 2024. The company said it continues to see strong momentum in the take-up of pre-commitments with major customers, and it is on track toward longer-term targets.