Info-tech

Bharti invests $500 m more in OneWeb

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on June 29, 2021

Sunil Bharti Mittal   -  PTI

Bharti Enterprises on Tuesday said it is investing additional $500 million in OneWeb, the global Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications company, adding that the company is financially secure, with no debt issuance.

“OneWeb has secured further fund-raising on the anniversary of the successful bid by UK government and Bharti Global (Bharti) to purchase OneWeb from US Chapter 11 to bring its total funding to $2.4 billion. OneWeb has completed its transformation with the exercise of a Call Option by Bharti to invest an additional $500 million into the company,” the Sunil Mittal-led company said.

The announcement comes as OneWeb prepares for its eighth launch on July 1, delivering highly anticipated and strategically valuable Arctic region coverage down to 50 degrees latitude, it said.

The Call Option is expected to be completed in the second half of 2021, subject to regulatory approvals. On completion of the Call Option and with Eutelsat’s $550-million investment, Bharti will hold 38.6 per cent. The UK government, Eutelsat and Softbank will each own 19.3 per cent, the company said.

Final shareholding

It further said that the final shareholding structure may alter to the extent a member of the shareholders’ group chooses to exercise a part of this call option. On completion, OneWeb will have secured $2.4 billion of equity investment, with no issued debt.

“OneWeb represents a unique opportunity for investors at a key moment in the commercialisation of Space. With its Global ITU LEO Spectrum priority, telco partnerships, successful launch momentum and reliable satellites, OneWeb is ready to serve the vital needs of high-speed broadband connectivity for those who have been left behind. Nation Sates can accelerate their universal service obligations, telcos, their backhaul and enterprise and governments can serve remote installations,” Mittal said.

Neil Masterson, CEO at OneWeb, said the completion of the funding puts OneWeb in a powerful position.

“We have significantly lower entry cost of any LEO. We benefit from $3.4 billion of pre-Chapter 11 investment by the original shareholders, making new OneWeb a three-times lower cost Constellation. With the forthcoming launch we will have completed 40 per cent of our Network,” he said.

Completion of funding

“With this round of financing, we complete the funding requirements. We will continue to work alongside our partner shareholders, UK government, Softbank and Eutelsat, to realise this unique opportunity,” Shravin Mittal, Managing Director of Bharti Global, said.

Published on June 29, 2021

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