|Countdown Begins for Intelsat New Dawn Launch|
Landmark African communications satellite to launch from French Guiana in late March 2011
The Intelsat New Dawn satellite is scheduled to be launched on 29 March 2011 from Arianespace’s launch site in Kourou, French Guiana. Intelsat New Dawn is the first ever African private sector communications satellite.
A joint venture between a consortium led by Convergence Partners and Intelsat S.A., the world’s leading provider of fixed satellite services, the New Dawn satellite and its 28 C-band and 24 Ku-band 36 MHz transponder units are designed specifically to supply critical communications infrastructure for African customers. Operating from a geostationary orbital slot at 32.8° East, Intelsat New Dawn will be ideally positioned to serve Africa through a payload optimized to deliver wireless backhaul, broadband and media content - the fastest growing satellite-based applications in Africa.
Delivered on time and within the originally announced $250 million budget, the Intelsat New Dawn venture has been approximately 90% funded from African sources. The Convergence Partners consortium also includes strategic shareholder Altirah Telecoms and the not-for-profit Convergence Partners Foundation.
When placed into service in the second quarter of 2011, Intelsat New Dawn will address the capacity backlog faced by African wireless telecom operators, broadband service providers, corporate network service providers and media operators who have experienced exceptional growth along with the economic development of the region. Customers contracting for capacity in advance of launch are the leading communications services providers in the region, including Vodacom International Ltd., Gateway Communications Africa (UK) Ltd., Bharti Airtel (originally contracted through Celtel Nigeria) and Gilat Satcom.
Thierry Guillemin, Chief Technical Officer of Intelsat, said, “With manufacturing of the satellite now concluding, our team transitions its focus to the launch mission in French Guiana. We will conduct tests on-site as the final preparations for this historic satellite are completed.”
Andile Ngcaba, Chairman of Convergence Partners, said, “With a launch slot secured for Intelsat New Dawn, we are now on the cusp of seeing this landmark venture become a reality. The project has been in development for five years, with the last two-and–a-half focusing on construction. When launched, the satellite will not only deliver crucial services specifically tailored for Africa, it will also herald the dawn of a new era where Africans enjoy far greater involvement in the space communications industry.”
Commissioned in December 2008 and built by Orbital Sciences Corporation, the hybrid C-band/Ku-band satellite will be operated and marketed as a part of the global Intelsat fleet, bringing to 22 the number of Intelsat satellites serving Africa. Arianespace was selected as the launch partner and will use the most powerful version in the Ariane 5 range, the Ariane 5 ECA (Cryogenic Evolution type A), for the dual payload mission of the Intelsat New Dawn and a satellite being launched by another commercial operator. The Ariane 5 launcher for the Intelsat New Dawn satellite recently arrived at the Spaceport in French Guiana, where it is being readied for the mission.
For more details on Intelsat New Dawn and to view frequent updates leading up to the launch, please visit www.intelsatnewdawn.com.
Alex Horwitz, Director
About Intelsat New Dawn
Initially announced in December 2008, the US$250 million project is funded approximately 15% with equity and 85% with debt. African institutions are providing approximately 90% of the total financing required for the joint venture and Intelsat will contribute the balance. Nedbank Capital, part of the Nedbank Group (one of South Africa’s largest banking groups) and a leading telecom project financier in South Africa, has arranged the non-recourse debt financing. A consortium of lenders including Nedbank, the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa and the African Development Bank will provide the debt funding. The equity is provided by Intelsat (74.9%) and the Convergence Partners-led group (25.1%), which also includes Altirah Telecoms and the not-for-profit Convergence Partners Foundation.
About Convergence Partners
Convergence Partners is an investment company focused on the telecommunications, media and technology (TMT) sector in Africa. Convergence Partners' investment philosophy is to take meaningful equity stakes in quality projects and businesses within its chosen sector and act as an active, strategic value-adding investor. As a major part of its strategy, Convergence Partners focuses on greenfields projects that improve access to communications, broadband services and technology offerings throughout Africa and thereby contribute to enhanced standards of living. For more information, visit www.convergencepartners.co.za
Intelsat is the leading provider of fixed satellite services worldwide. For over 45 years, Intelsat has been delivering information and entertainment for many of the world’s leading media and network companies, multinational corporations, Internet Service Providers and governmental agencies. Intelsat’s satellite, teleport and fiber infrastructure is unmatched in the industry, setting the standard for transmissions of video, data and voice services. From the globalization of content and the proliferation of HD, to the expansion of cellular networks and broadband access, with Intelsat, advanced communications anywhere in the world are closer, by far. For more information, visit www.intelsat.com
About Altirah Telecoms
Altirah Telecoms is the special purpose common investment vehicle of Altirah Capital and the Oppenheimer family's private equity portfolio. Altirah Capital is a South African-based investment company, founded by David Frankel and Paul Salomon. The Oppenheimer family's private equity portfolio is advised by Stockdale Street Limited, which is run by Peter Maw and Paul Salomon.
Intelsat Safe Harbor Statement:
Some of the statements in this news release constitute "forward-looking statements" that do not directly or exclusively relate to historical facts. The forward-looking statements made in this release, reflect Intelsat's intentions, plans, expectations, assumptions and beliefs about future events and are subject to risks, including known and unknown risks. Detailed information about some of the known risks is included in Intelsat's annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended 31 December 2010 and Intelsat's other periodic reports filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Because actual results could differ materially from Intelsat's intentions, plans, expectations, assumptions and beliefs about the future, you are urged to view all forward-looking statements contained in this news release with caution. Intelsat does not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.