The European Investment Bank (EIB), the financing institution of the European Union, and global content connectivity solutions provider SES recently announced details of their €300 million financing agreement at a press meeting at the SES headquarters in Betzdorf, Luxembourg. The seven-year term loan will allow for investments to be made in the design, procurement and launch of three satellites. These satellites will be offering advanced broadcast and broadband services to Western Europe, Africa and the Middle East. This loan is the largest amount of money ever provided by the EIB to a company based in Luxembourg.
The project supported by EIB financing includes the procurement of three satellites from Thales Alenia Space and will deliver video broadcasting as well as network services. By operating from SES’s prime TV neighbourhood of 19.2 degrees East (ASTRA 1P, ASTRA 1Q) and 57 degrees East (SES-26), SES will be able to strengthen its world-class satellite broadcast over Europe and Africa. It will also be able to support dynamic connectivity needs for companies and governments in Europe across Africa and the Middle East. Two of the three satellites are next-generation, flexible and fully software-defined, enabling service reconfiguration and instant in-orbit adjustment to SES customers’ demands. All three satellites will be launched in 2024 and will operate from SES’s headquarters in Luxembourg.
EIB Vice-President Kris Peeters said: “Space technology, data and services have become indispensable in the lives of Europeans. I am therefore very enthusiastic about this agreement with SES, which directly supports the EU space policy. It is a big step in the successful launch of a new generation of satellites able to deliver advanced broadcast and broadband services for the benefit of both the private and public sectors in Western Europe and beyond. Space is a key driver of innovation in Europe and we are eager to support space entrepreneurship. The size of the loan, the largest ever provided by the EIB to a Luxembourgish company, also demonstrates how strategically important the space sector is for the EIB and the European Union.”
Sandeep Jalan, Chief Financial Officer of SES, said: “We are very happy to have secured this term loan from the European Investment Bank. This diversifies SES’s sources of financing on attractive financial terms. The agreement enables us to deliver on our commitment to broadcast high-quality content from our prime TV neighbourhood serving 118 million TV households across France, Germany and Western Europe. These next-generation satellites are also able to support the most ambitious plans for companies and governments across Europe and beyond, enabling them to enter the new era of networked connectivity services.”
The transaction is in line with the commitment by EU and EIB to strengthen their support for European space companies. It also aligns with the Gigabit Society targets of the European Commission that all households in Europe will have access to at least 100 Mbps internet connectivity by 2025.