Hispasat is going to launch its Amazonas Nexus satellite on February 5, from the Caño Cañaveral station in Florida (USA). With this space vehicle, the company controlled by Redeia debuts in the new generation of geostationary satellites, with HTS technology. The plan is a key step in the process opened by the company to go from being an infrastructure provider to a service provider. The satellite will be launched aboard a SpaceX rocket, Elon Musk’s company.
The project, which has reached a total investment of 300 million euros, was launched in 2019 with a capacity already committed of close to 30%. Now it is going to be launched with 60% of the expected income already committed to commercial contracts, a filling percentage well above the usual, which is around 30%, according to Juan Jesús García Chaparro, Hispasat’s economic and financial director, in a meeting with Five days.
The Nexus reinforces Hispasat’s commitment to new business verticals. The satellite, which will cover the American continent and the North and South Atlantic corridors, will focus on mobility. On the one hand, it will serve air mobility by offering connectivity to the 2,500 daily flights that circulate through the North Atlantic, and to 100% of the domestic flights in the US. The company has a commercial agreement with Intelsat, parent company of the former Gogo, which At the same time, it has agreements with large US airlines such as Delta or American Airlines.
On the other, the Nexus will meet the demand for maritime mobility, both for cruise ships and merchant ships. The northern trade route of Europe-North America is the third in the world in terms of cargo flows. It also makes it possible to offer connectivity to the 13,000 ships that cross the Panama Canal or the Caribbean daily, where 40% of the world’s yachts sail. In the government segment, it will offer services to the Government of Greenland, an autonomous region of Denmark, following an agreement with Tusass, formerly Tele Greenland, the Greenland communications company, a territory where it is not possible to deploy other technologies.
In defense and security, Hispasat has signed an agreement with the US Department of Defense, which becomes one of the main clients. Within the general agreement, the Spanish group has sealed an alliance with Artel, a network integrator certified by the Department of Defense, to embark on the Pathfinder 2 mission of the US Space Force. In addition, Hispasat is going to be part of the effort they are making the Air Forces to hire more adapted and higher performance GovSatcom services with more flexible and safer missions.
The Nexus is an ambitious financial project, with a capital structure of between 70% and 80% bank financing and the rest, own resources. In addition, the debt is guaranteed by the French and US export credit agencies, BPI France and Exim-Bank, respectively.
BPI’s participation derives from the contract with Thales Alenia Space, manufacturer of the satellite. Hispasat signed a syndicated financing with BPI France and a pool of entities, Santander, BNP, Société Générale and ING, for 130 million euros. 100% of the financing is at a fixed rate, with a cost of around 2%. In turn, Exim-Bank provided an $80 million loan to finance the launch and its insurance, along with initial operations.
The financing includes a capital and interest grace period during the manufacture of the satellite and up to 8.5 years of repayment of the financing with the cash flows generated by the project, beginning after the first six months of the operational life of the satellite. satelite. Operating expenses are stable, since they are mostly not indexed to inflation. During the construction period, expenses are capitalized and are considered as a greater amount of the project investment. The total average ebitda margin is in a range between 70% and 80%, while the amortization of the satellite is distributed over 15 years, which represents its useful life.
The satellite is insured in all its phases, pre-launch, launch and life in orbit or exploitation. The launch and first operations in orbit insurance has a coverage of 16 months. According to the company, it is a long period because the new satellite is electrically powered and takes longer to reach its operational orbit and become operational than when it was chemically powered. The policy is contracted with a reinsurance formed by more than 20 insurers. “It is placed with a specialized broker, similar to a bond issue,” says García Chaparro.
Compliance with the strategic plan
Evolution. With the Nexus, Hispasat takes a decisive step towards fulfilling its 2020-2025 strategic plan, marked by the search for new sources of income with the expansion into new businesses linked to broadband and mobility. The company, which in 2022 closed the purchase of the satellite service provider Axess, exceeded 200 million euros in revenue last year. The group has a leverage ratio of around one time the ebitda, below three or four times the ebitda of other groups in the satellite sector. Hispasat currently has a fleet of nine satellites, in six orbital positions, which offer services in the American continent, Europe and North Africa.
Technology. The Amazon Nexus ushers in a new era of geostationary satellites. Widebeam technology made it possible to offer speeds between 1 and 10 Gpbs, while the new HTS (High Throughput Satellite) of the Nexus reaches speeds between 5 and 500 Gbps, with the option of reaching 1 Tbps. In addition, the spacecraft is designed with a state-of-the-art Digital Transparent Processor (DTP) that allows maximum flexibility and makes it easy to adapt to technological changes that occur during its lifetime. The satellite has fully electric propulsion and is lighter than the previous ones, 4.5 tons of launch mass.
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