September 29, 2023
OneWeb and Paris-based Eutelsat Communications announced the completion of their merger this week, leading to the formation of Eutelsat Group. The company claims it will be the world's first integrated GEO-LEO integrated satellite communications operator.
Backed by the UK government and Bharti Group, OneWeb operates a global low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite communications network of over 600 satellites. Eutelsat has, meanwhile, traditionally focused on geostationary Earth orbit (GEO) satellites. The combination of GEO and LEO satellites will allow the combined entity to provide high-speed and low-latency connectivity services across the world.
OneWeb's network is already active and should be operational worldwide by end of this year. The companies expect that a combined GEO-LEO service will open up new markets and applications for customers, such as fixed connectivity for backhaul and corporate networks. They also target government services, as well as maritime and inflight mobile connectivity.
After the merger, OneWeb will become a subsidiary of Eutelsat and operate commercially as Eutelsat OneWeb, with London remaining its center of operations. Eutelsat Group will continue to be listed on the Euronext Paris Stock Exchange and has applied for standard listing on the London Stock Exchange, says the press note.
"Closing the digital divide is a critical mission for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals and this combination will synergize the efforts of both businesses and will accelerate our progress," says Sunil Bharti Mittal, founder and chairman of Bharti Enterprises. "Today, we have created a company which will bring connectivity to all people around the world and will help us achieve our last-mile connectivity," he added.
"We will be moving fast to accelerate the growth of the combined business. With the support of strategic shareholders of both entities, we are confident of maximising financial performance and operational excellence, while capitalising on the high-return investment of next generation satellites," says Dominique D'Hinnin, chairman of the board of directors at Eutelsat Group.
The combined entity expects to grow at a double-digit revenue CAGR over the medium to long term, hoping to reach around €2 billion (US$2.12 billion) in 2027. "Adjusted EBITDA for the combined entity is expected to grow at a double-digit CAGR over the same period, outpacing revenue growth," says the press release.
Mittal will serve as the vice president (co-chair) of the board of directors at Eutelsat Group, while his son, Shravin Bharti Mittal, will take on the role of director on the board of Eutelsat Group. Akhil Gupta, vice chairman of Bharti Enterprises, will continue to serve as a director on the board of OneWeb.
Satellite-based communications have evolved over the last few years and are emerging as a viable technology to help connect people in remote and rural areas.
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