Shin Sat signs $390 m. loan deal for iPSTAR-1

MUMBAI: Asia's number two satellite operator Shin Satellite Plc. of Thailand today announced it had signed a $390 million loan deal for its long in gestation iPSTAR-1 project.

The announcement comes over two years (August 2000) after Shin Sat awarded the contract for the design and construction of iPSTAR-1 to Space Systems/Loral (SS/L). iPSTAR-1 is a high-powered geostationary satellite to be used for broadband communications applications.

Shin Sat announced that it has signed with the Export-Import Bank of the United States ("Ex-Im Bank") and Compagnie Francaise d'Assurance pour la Commerce Extrieur de France (COFACE) agreements for loan guarantee facilities of a total of $ 265 million. Shin Sat has also signed a $ 125 million syndicated commercial bank facility arranged jointly by BNP Paribas and Citibank/SalomonSmithBarney. The credit support from the Ex-Im Bank and Coface will be in the form of a guarantee facility provided by Citibank and BNP Paribas.

The credit support from the Ex-Im Bank represents approximately 85 per cent of US content, mostly for the payment of the satellite's construction by SS/Loral. Support from COFACE will cover 85 per cent of the cost of launching the satellite on Arianespace from French Guyana, an official release says.

The Ex-Im support effectively makes iPSTAR the only broadband satellite project in the world to receive full financing, the release asserts. The company expects to receive iPSTAR-1 by the end of 2003 and see it fully operational in early 2004. In the meantime, Shin Satellite has deployed gateways in several important markets in this Asia-Pacific region.

Shin Sat will use iPSTAR-1, a satellite with a hybrid Ka-/Ku-band communications payload, to provide direct-to-desktop, last-mile services, including new multi-media and data services to customers in Asia, India, and Australia.

With total satellite power of approximately 14 kW, iPSTAR-1 will provide 100 beams in the Ku-band and the Ka-band - to deliver broad coverage from its orbital location at 1200 East longitude. iPSTAR-1 is designed to provide 12 years of uninterrupted service life.

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