Arabsat to order two more satellites
By Chris Forrester

Arabsat is to order – at least – two new satellites. Final contract discussions are underway now for these ‘sixth generation’ craft which will eventually be placed at 30.5 degrees East and 26 degrees East, two of Arabsat’s ‘hot spot’ positions. No date was suggested as to when negotiations might result in orders being placed, but it was no coincidence that both Thales and Astrium are in Dubai with a heavyweight presence and have meetings scheduled.

However, there’s also clearly more to come. Nabil Al Shanti, Arabsat’s VP/Marketing and sales, says the satellite operator, already in the world’s Top Ten in terms of revenues and size, is determined to move “beyond our borders”, and is in early discussions with potential joint-venture partners and government entities about expanding Arabsat’s reach and footprints beyond its current EMEA focus.

Finance, according to those close to Arabsat, ought not to be a problem. This past year saw a record 24 per cent y-o-y revenue growth, and helping CAGR over the past five years to average 18 per cent.

Those expansion discussions, according to Arabsat sources, could also include acquiring rival satellite operators. Target territories include the Far East, South Asia and even Latin America.

Arabsat is also currently also engaged in quite tough negotiations with Eutelsat over disputed frequency rights. Arabsat says they are very hopeful that a compromise settlement can be reached to the benefit of all involved.