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SPACEMART
A New Dawn For Africa's Communications Infrastructure

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by Staff Writers
Luxembourg (SPX) Apr 25, 2011
Intelsat S.A., the world's leading provider of fixed satellite services, reports that Arianespace has successfully launched the Intelsat New Dawn satellite. The Ariane 5 vehicle lifted off from Kourou, French Guiana at 5:37 p.m. (EDT), followed by spacecraft separation from the launch vehicle at 6:12 p.m. and signal acquisition at 6:29 p.m.

The Intelsat New Dawn satellite is owned by a joint venture between a consortium led by Convergence Partners and Intelsat. The satellite's 28 C-band and 24 Ku-band 36 MHz transponder units are designed specifically to supply critical communications infrastructure for African customers, who have experienced exceptional growth along with the development of the region.

Operating from a geostationary orbital slot at 32.8 degrees East, Intelsat New Dawn will be ideally positioned to serve Africa through a payload optimized to deliver new capacity for voice, wireless backhaul, fixed line and wireless infrastructure, broadband and media- the fastest growing satellite-based applications in Africa.

"Intelsat and the African continent share a 40-year history in the development of Africa's telecommunications infrastructure," said Dave McGlade, Intelsat CEO. "Intelsat New Dawn will be integrated with the resilient Intelsat fleet, allowing us to expand and enhance the vital communications services that are provided by our customers to business consumers throughout Africa."

Andile Ngcaba, Chairman of Convergence Partners, said, "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."

Intelsat New Dawn is the first of eight satellites slated for launch over the next two years and is part of the largest satellite program in Intelsat's history. The investment program is expected to provide enhanced high-powered capacity to Intelsat's global fleet. Intelsat's next launch is expected to be the Intelsat 18 satellite, slated for later in 2011.

Initially announced in December 2008, the US$250 million Intelsat New Dawn 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.



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