Telesat’s decision to pay a $700 million special dividend to its two shareholders and to Telesat’s senior management eases pressure on the satellite fleet operator to find a buyer or some other strategic alternative to the status quo.
But industry officials say shareholders Loral Space and Communications of New York and Canada’s PSP pension fund remain financial investors that are unlikely to want to stick around for the long term.
The two owners in late 2011 gave up trying to sell Telesat after prospective buyers refused to offer what the owners think Telesat is worth. The special dividend, which added debt to Telesat, was the alternative transaction.
Telesat’s growth in Latin America, where the company had nicely timed the entry of new capacity into service, will be limited by the solar-array-deployment failure on the Telstar 14R/Estrela do Sul-2 satellite in May 2011.
But Telesat’s near-term prospects in the wake of a lackluster 2011 appear solid after the Nimiq 6 satellite’s entry into service in June and the planned Anik G1 launch later this year. Capacity on both satellites has been placed under long-term contract by Canadian television broadcasters.
Anik G1 also has an X-band payload that has been leased under a long-term contract with Astrium Services’ Paradigm division for sales to military users.
Telesat has yet to resolve a problem related to its access to Ku-band frequencies at 14-15 degrees west longitude, where the Russian Satellite Communications Co. has rights that could restrict Telesat’s use of these frequencies.