Agrani expects financial closure of satcom venture by year end

The Agrani satcom venture which is promoted by media baron Subhash Chandra is expected to close financially before the year is through, company officials say.

Agrani corporate communications manager Ashish Kaul is also confident of the Rs 1,150-crore satellite project reaching the Rs 690-crore debt-financing target. There are only a few procedures which have to be followed. French satellite major Alcatel Space Industries will supply Agrani with a satellite worth $170 million. The satellite, with a life-span of 14 years, has 24 ‘C’ band and 14 ‘ku’ band transponders. For this, it has to get the re-export license for which Alcatel has already made an application to the US Congress.

The license is needed because the components of the satellite which were made in the United States have to be re-exported here. Alcatel Spacecom will invest $15 million for a 9.75 per cent stake in Agrani Satellite Services Limited. Subhash Chandra and associates will hold a majority 51 per cent stake in the company.

The Foreign Investment Promotion Board has given permission to ASSL to offload upto 74 per cent equity through the FDI route.

Lenders for the project include IDBI and LIC. Agrani has received letters from them approving Rs 3.75 billion of loans, but the cash will be given at the time of the financial closure. In view of the Afghan conflict, however, it is difficult to estimate the time that Alacatel will take to get the license.

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