Jordanian & Kuwaiti alliance create $500m firm in UAE

'SmartSat' aims to be MENA's first private company specialised in satellite industry.

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By  Neeraj Gangal Published  February 9, 2009

An alliance of Jordanian and Kuwaiti companies announced on Monday, the launch of a USD 500 million firm, which will be the MENA region's first private company specialised in the satellite industry.

The new UAE-based company has been named 'SmartSat' and will be headquartered in Dubai Studio City. SmartSat will leverage the expertise of a widely experienced executive board, led by Chairman and Managing Director Khaled Derbas, who is a renowned pioneer in delivering internet services using satellite technology to consumers in the region.

SmartSat will offer its new services by launching the Arab world's first private satellite that will serve the MENA region.

The company will thus contribute in the development of the quality of services for the region's internet service providers (ISPs), GSM providers, broadband technology solutions providers, television stations, ministries of communication, military agencies and companies dealing with data systems among others.

Commenting on the development, Khaled Derbas said: "SmartSat aims to become a leading global private satellite service provider and it is keen to provide high-quality services at competitive prices. Furthermore, it is also our goal to create an environment of healthy competition in the MENA, which will ultimately benefit all consumers in general and the satellite
services sector in particular."

"Being the first privately owned Arab company working in the satellite sector, SmartSat will contribute significantly to enhance and develop the satellite sector in the MENA region, as our entry is expected to create positive changes in terms of competitive prices, high-quality services and more options for customers," added Derbas.

SmartSat is a joint venture between Smartlink, the Jordanian private shareholding company that operates as a global broadband satellite services provider in the Middle East, North Africa and Eastern Europe regions with offices in Jordan and the UAE; and a leading Kuwaiti investment holding company, which will be the financial advisor for the project. Smartlink will be operating the project as managing partner.
 
SmartSat will primarily serve the MENA region along with other international markets, particularly Eastern Europe. The company revealed that it will leverage the strong year-on-year performance of the region's satellite industry, whose commercial satellite-lease revenues increased by an average of 17 per cent per year since 2003 to reach a value of USD 752 million in 2007, according to a recent study by Euroconsult and The London Satellite Exchange.

The MENA's increased technology adoption has also been recognised as one of the significant contributors to the region's growing satellite market; for instance, satellite carriage of High Definition Television (HDTV) continued to show significant growth as the number of HDTV channels worldwide grew by 150 per cent from 2006 to May 2008, while satellite-delivered HDTV channels are forecasted to further grow globally by 350 per cent by 2013, according to the 2008 State of the Satellite Industry Report. (Reuters)

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