Singapore sling to launch Aussie satellite

Singapore sling to launch Aussie satellite

SINGAPORE - Several Singapore-based investors, including property developer Ching Chiat Kwong, are funding a communications satellite project based in Australia that will provide new bandwith to customers in emerging markets.

Sydney-listed NewSat Ltd said last week that it had completed a A$105 million (S$134 million) share placement (A$0.40 per share) and raised another US$30 million (S$37 million) in mezzanine funding for its new Jabiru-1 satellite venture.

But BT has learnt that the key financiers of the mezzanine portion include Mr Ching, whose Oxley Holdings has become synonymous with shoe-box apartments in Singapore.

Also invested in the project is Singapore-based family-owned private-equity unit Daun Consulting, which is headed by Bryan Yap, a friend of Mr Ching.

Their entry is believed to have been instrumental in the Sydney-listed company securing another US$399 million in extra funding pledges from the US Export-Import Bank and France's Coface.

Mr Ching declined to disclose details of his investment but expressed optimism about the venture.

"This is about reselling slots in the new KA-bandwidth to telecommunications and communications players in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and parts of Europe, where there is high demand for new bandwith," he said. "The existing X, C, S and K bandwidths have almost all been fully used up. So this is a business where supply drives new demand."

NewSat has bought eight orbital slots focusing on these emerging markets and will use its two base station teleports based in Perth and Adelaide in Australia.

There are currently 180 orbital slots at 2 degrees each supporting global satellite operations.

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