Iridium Secures $1.8B for New Constellation

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Mobile satellite services operator Iridium Communications on Oct. 28 announced it had secured the full $1.8 billion in bank financing it requested from a syndicate of nine banks led by Deutsche Bank, Banco Santander, Societe Generale and Natixis.

The financial package, part of an estimated $3 billion that McLean, Va.-based Iridium estimates it will need to field its Iridium Next second-generation constellation of low-orbiting spacecraft, was 95 percent backed by guarantees from the French export-credit agency, Coface.

Iridium has said the loan carries an interest rate of below 6 percent and is repayable starting in 2017 and extending to 2024.

Iridium has signed a $2.2 billion contract with Thales Alenia Space of France and Italy to build 82 Iridium satellites, of which nine will be stored on the ground unless needed following a launch failure. By concluding the bank syndicate financing, Iridium was able to replace a temporary three-month work order with Thales Alenia Space with a full system-development contract, Iridium said.