AsiaSat shareholders accept privatization offer

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WASHINGTON — Shareholders of satellite operator AsiaSat have voted overwhelmingly in favor of privatization, setting the company on a course to delist from the Hong Kong stock exchange on Sept. 5.

AsiaSat said Aug. 23 that shareholders controlling 99.8% of shares not already held by its majority owners, CITIC and Carlyle, voted in favor of privatization.

CITIC and Carlyle already control 74.65% of AsiaSat shares, and proposed June 24 to pay 1.022 billion Hong Kong dollars ($130.8 million) for the remainder. The buyout would make AsiaSat a subsidiary of Bowenvale Limited, a joint venture of CITIC and Carlyle.

The last step for the company to go private is a hearing before the Supreme Court of Bermuda to approve the takeover plans scheduled for Aug. 30. AsiaSat, while headquartered in Hong Kong, is incorporated in Bermuda. 

CITIC and Carlyle say privatization will give AsiaSat more flexibility in pursuing business decisions it needs to grow but that could create volatility in its financial earnings reports. 

AsiaSat also announced Aug. 23 that it is relocating within Hong Kong from Wan Chai to Tai Po Industrial Estate, where its teleport is based, effective Sept. 1. 

AsiaSat is the second satellite operator to pursue privatization this year, following British operator Inmarsat, whose shareholders approved a $3.3 billion buyout in May.