Measat and NewSat Agree To Swap Capacity

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PARIS — Satellite operator Measat of Malaysia and startup Australian operator NewSat Ltd. on Feb. 20 announced that each would purchase large chunks of capacity on the other’s satellite, with Measat setting the transactions’ value at about $180 million apiece.

Under the agreements, Southbank-based NewSat will purchase capacity covering Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste and specific regions of Australia aboard the Measat-3b satellite now under construction and scheduled for launch in late 2013.

Measat-3b, which will operate at Measat’s existing 91.5 degrees east orbital slot alongside Measat-3 and Measat-3a, will carry 48 high-power transponders for coverage of Malaysia, India, Indonesia, Australia and the surrounding region. The satellite is being built by Astrium Satellites of Europe and is scheduled for launch by Europe’s Arianespace launch consortium.

NewSat did not disclose how much capacity it would be taking aboard Measat-3b and marketing under the name Jabiru-2. But a Measat spokesman said the Australian operator is spending about the same amount — about $180 million — as Measat will spend on capacity it will purchase on NewSat’s Jabiru-1 satellite, tentatively scheduled for launch in 2014.

NewSat, which is traded on the Australian Stock Exchange, has told investors it expects to complete the necessary financing for Jabiru-1 in the coming months and take advantage of loan backing from the U.S. and French export-credit agencies. NewSat has announced that Lockheed Martin Space Systems of Sunnyvale, Calif., and Arianespace of Evry, France, respectively, would be building and launching Jabiru-1.

In a Feb. 20 statement issued to the Australian Stock Market, NewSat Chief Executive Adrian Ballintine said the company expects to generate “over $110 million in revenue” from Jabiru-2 over the satellite’s 15-year life.