Sunday, December 17, 2006

Loral Skynet to Merge with Telesat Creating Global FSS Provider

Loral Skynet will merge with BCE's Telesat division to create one of the world's largest operators of telecommunications satellites, with a combined fleet of eleven satellites and four additional satellites to be launched over the next three years. The new company will have combined trailing 12 months revenue for the period ended September 30, 2006 of approximately US $568 million (CAD 658 million) and US $4.9 billion (CAD 5.6 billion) of backlog, generating combined trailing 12 months Adjusted EBITDA for the period ended September 30, 2006 of approximately US$295 million (C$341 million).

Under the deal, BCE (Bell Canada Enterprises) will sell its satellite services subsidiary, Telesat Canada, for $3.42 billion to a new acquisition company formed by Canada's Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP Investments) and Loral Space & Communications. Loral will merge its Loral Skynet fixed satellite services and network services assets business into the new company. This involves complementary satellite services assets in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. Combined with Telesat's existing services, in North and South America, the new Telesat will be a truly global operator of scale, headquartered in Ottawa.

Net of Telesat's debt, BCE will realize total proceeds of $3.25 billion from the all cash transaction.

BCE said the sale is consistent with its stated strategy of concentrating on Bell, its core communications business.

In conjunction with the sale, BCE has put in place a set of commercial arrangements between Telesat and Bell ExpressVu that guarantee ExpressVu access to current and expanded satellite capacity, including the launch of Nimiq 5 in 2009.