GE Capital to sell GE-23 satellite and customer contracts to Eutelsat for $228 million

Telecom Lead Asia: Satellite operator Eutelsat
Communications will buy the GE-23 satellite, associated customer contracts and
orbital rights from GE Capital for $228 million.


GE-23 was built by Thales Alenia Space. Launched in
December 2005, GE-23 has an expected useful life of 15 years.


The satellite offers coverage over the Asia-Pacific
region via a payload of 20 Ku-band transponders accessing five interconnecting
beams and 18 C-band transponders connected to a trans-Pacific beam. Leveraging
its coverage and high-bandwidth capability, GE-23 offers a broad range of
telecom services to a diverse base of blue chip customers.


GE-23 will be integrated into the Eutelsat Communications
fleet, with a smooth transition for existing customers. It will be renamed
EUTELSAT 172A.


The acquisition will enable Eutelsat to expand its
presence. The satellite brings coverage of the Asia-Pacific markets. It will
complement Eutelsat’s organic initiatives, notably the EUTELSAT 70B satellite,
equipped with a dedicated Asian beam, which is scheduled to launch in Q4 2012.


Eutelsat is also acquiring customer contracts. The
extended coverage also opens the way for Eutelsat to broaden its offering to
its existing clients and to develop new business.


The transaction will be financed through Eutelsat’s
existing liquidity. From a leverage standpoint, it will lead to a moderate
increase in the Net Debt / EBITDA ratio, and will therefore have no material
impact on Eutelsat’s financial flexibility.


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