UAE's Yahsat secures $1.2bn in long-term finance

Customers already signed up include UAE Armed Forces and US teleport operator.

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By  James Exelby Published  August 6, 2008

Al Yah Satellite Communications Company (Yahsat), the UAE's first nationally-owned satellite operator, has secured commitments from 14 banks for $1.2 billion to finance the Middle East's first hybrid satellite communications system, state news agency WAM reported on Wednesday.

The company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Abu Dhabi's Mubadala Development Company (Mubadala), has obtained fourteen-year non-recourse financing, split in to a $1.014 million term loan, $100 million of stand-by facilities and $80 million in a debt service reserve letter of credit, the statement said.

"We are very pleased with the extremely positive response to the financing for [Yahsat]. The deal is not only oversubscribed but has very competitive pricing," Derek Rozycki, Mubadala's executive director, project and corporate finance, was quoted as saying.

"Yahsat received commitments from leading international and regional banks in excess of $1.6 billion for the $1.2 billion financing," said Jassem Mohamed Al-Zaabi, Yahsat's chief executive was quoted as saying.

Yahsat's first satellite Yahsat 1A is in production and will be launched in the fourth quarter of 2010. The second satellite, Yahsat 1B, will follow a few months later in the first half of 2011, WAM reported.

Customers already signed up on long-term leases include  the UAE Armed Forces and the US-based Emerging Markets Communications, a teleport facility operator, WAM added.

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