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ABS Finally Signs ABS-2 Contract After Financing Delays

By | October 14, 2010

      [Satellite TODAY Insider 10-14-10] Asia Broadcast Satellite (ABS) has issued the manufacturing contract for the ABS-2 satellite to Space Systems/Loral (SS/L).
          The ABS-2 satellite is based on SS/L’s 1300 satellite bus and will have up to a total of 87 active C-, Ku- and Ka-band transponders across 10 different beams bringing increased capacity and transmission power to the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and CIS/Russia. Financial details of the contract were not disclosed.
          The ABS-2 manufacturing deal had been delayed due to ABS’ financing efforts, but will see the satellite launched in 2013. The satellite was initially planned to launch in 2012.  In September, the operator announced that a company backed by the Permira funds, along with ABS management team, had reached an agreement to acquire Kingsbridge Ltd., the holding company for ABS. The Permira funds will become the majority shareholder of ABS. The acquisition of ABS is to be entirely equity funded.   
          The ABS-2 satellite will be the flagship of ABS’ fleet, CEO Tom Choi told Satellite TODAY Insider. “Our current backlog is over $320 million on ABS-2. It is going to be very heavily sold by the time it launches. I would say several beams will be sold out at launch. The Russia beam will be sold out at launch. The Middle East beam will be sold out. Depending on discussions with partners, our South Asia beam could be sold out as well. I would say we are looking at 70-75 percent of the capacity sold at launch,” he said. Significantly, these comments were made before the delays in the launch of the satellite, so ABS has even more time now to sell capacity.” 
          ABS has recently been one of the most aggressive operators in the Asia Pacific, involved in a series of acquisitions over the last year. It entered into a deal with Korea Telecom (KT) to acquire the Koreasat-2 and Koreasat-3 satellites. In November 2009, ABS also acquired Mabuhay Satellite Corp. (MSC) in the Philippines, which saw the operator acquire the MSC’s Agila-2 satellite.

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