Sunday, 31 January 2010

Firm investing $800 M to build 5 satellites

By EMMIE V. ABADILLA
Manila Bulletin
http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/240975/firm-investing-800-m-build-5-satellites

Within the next two years, Asia Broadcast Satellite (ABS) is investing US$800 million in 5 satellites to be controlled by Filipino staff from its hub at the Mabuhay Satellite Corporation (MSC) Subic Space Center, announced ABS CEO Tom Choi.

ABS plans to list in the 3 big international bourses within the next three years.

Initially, ABS is sinking in $205 million at MSC, which it has bought for an undisclosed price and then $300 million to build a second satellite, ABS2. “This acquisition is strategic for ABS,” he acknowledged.

The company, one of the youngest satellite operators in Asia, is expanding its satellite fleet and business worldwide by procuring new high powered satellites and expects 15 percent of its revenues will not [sic] come from its Philippine operations after the consolidation of MSC.

MSC was the first Philippine entity to own and operate a communication satellite. Its Agila 2 satellite, launched in 1997, is good for another half decade. It covers Asia, from India to the Philippines, Japan to Indonesia and connectivity to the USA from its spot beam over Hawaii. Its transponders provide capacity for TV distribution, DTH and VSAT services in the Philippines, Coastal China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

“The acquisition will ensure the future continuity of MSC’s Subic Space Center and ensure its expansion to support ABS growing satellite operation needs,” acknowledged MSC CEO Gabriel Z. Pimentel.

ABS currently hosts over 90 channels on its ABS-1 satellite, making it one of the fastest growing and top satellite distribution platforms for Cable TV in the Indian Ocean Region. Its ABS2, slated to be operational in 2012 and operated from Subic, will be one of the largest FSS satellites to be launched over the Eastern hemisphere.

Together with ABS1, it will be the most powerful orbital position in the Asia Pacific and Indian Ocean region.

Overall, ABS will use its Subic control center to operate 5 satellites Agile 1 and 2, ABS1, 1a, 2 and 6.

“The MSC acquisition will augment the Philippines capability to fly multiple satellites to serve markets in Asia, Russia, Africa and the Atlantic Ocean,” according to Choi. “

A large American satellite manufacturer will provide training and engineering support for our Filipino staff to fly the five different satellites.”

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