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Aireon Signs New Investors in Europe, Gains $120M in New Equity

By | December 20, 2013
      Airline equity investment Nav Canada

      Toronto Control Tower. Photo: Aireon

      [Via Satellite 12-20-13] Aireon has entered into binding agreements with three new investors and major Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs): ENAV (Italy), the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), and Naviair (Denmark) for $120 million in new equity.

      Aireon, developer of the satellite-based global air traffic surveillance system, is currently a joint venture between Iridium Communications and Nav Canada. The partnership was established to launch the Aireon system as a hosted payload on Iridium’s second-generation satellite constellation, Iridium Next, scheduled for first launch in early 2015.

      The investments by the new investors and Nav Canada will be in the form of preferred interests in tranches between 2014 and 2017, subject to the satisfaction of various conditions. Following the completion of these investments, now $270 million in total, Aireon will be required — if and when funds are available — to redeem a portion of Iridium’s interest for a payment of $120 million, which is expected to occur in 2018. Upon this redemption, Nav Canada will hold 51 percent of the fully diluted ownership of Aireon, ENAV will hold 12.5 percent, and each of IAA and Naviair will hold 6 percent, with 24.5 percent being retained by Iridium.

      In addition to Iridium’s retained interest and the $120 million redemption payment, Aireon has agreed to pay $200 million in hosting fees to Iridium for the integration and launch of Aireon’s Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) receiver payloads on each of its Iridium NEXT satellites. Additionally, Aireon will also pay ongoing data service fees of nearly $300 million through 2030, assuming Aireon continues to successfully expand into a global business.

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