Com Dev Might Put Itself Up for Sale

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PARIS — Satellite component manufacturer Com Dev of Canada, which earlier this year canceled a proposed stock offering of its exactEarth space-based maritime surveillance company, said it is now considering whether to put itself up for sale as it reviews strategic alternatives.

Cambridge, Ontario-based Com Dev, whose hardware is on a majority of commercial geostationary-orbit telecommunications satellites, has invested heavily in a bid to provide payload components to the proposed 900-satellite OneWeb constellation of low-orbiting Internet delivery satellites.

OneWeb and its satellite prime contractor, Airbus Defence and Space, have yet to select the system’s component builders.

Com Dev cited market conditions in pulling the exactEarth initial public offering of stock and said exactEarth’s owners, Com Dev and Hisdesat of Spain, would provide exactEarth with sufficient cash to grow.

Com Dev’s fortunes are tied to the health of the commercial telecommunications satellite business, which has been surprisingly slow in 2015 when measured by the number of firm orders. The company attempted to enter the market for U.S. military satellites with the creation of a California office but later closed the facility for lack of business.

Com Dev’s Oct. 7 announcement caused the company’s stock to jump sharply on the Toronto Stock Exchange, but it lost part of its gains the next day. Com Dev has a market capitalization of some 403 million Canadian dollars ($303 million).

It is not clear whether the Canadian government would allow Com Dev a free hand in selecting a new owner if the owner were not Canadian. The government in 2008 blocked the sale of Canada’s biggest space-hardware contractor, MDA Corp., to a U.S. company, saying Canadian interests would not be served by the sale.