Satnews Daily
December 20th, 2018

Forrester Reports: SES Upsizes Their Schuldschein Loan... Thales Alenia Space into Final Testing on O3b Satellites...

Journalist Chris Forrester, posting at Advanced TV, reports that satellite operator SES has raised a total of 400 million euros in a syndication of Schuldschein Loans — a  Schuldschein loan is one that does not need to have a new prospectus issued and can replace a private placement and they tend to cost less than a bond issue.

The SES borrowing comprises a 150 million euros, 5.5-year floating tranche at Euribor 6 months plus 0.8 percent and a 250 million euros 7-year fixed rate tranche with a coupon of 1.71 percent. SES is rated Baa2/BBB- (both with stable outlook).

SES says the Schuldschein loan was upsized from the initially marketed size and was placed with several European and Asian institutions. The proceeds will support SES’s general corporate purposes and the refinancing of existing debt maturities, which include a $500 million 144A bond with a coupon of 2.5 percent and a final maturity date of March 25, 2019.

Andrew Browne, CFO at SES, commented that the company is pleased to have secured this financing at very attractive terms and expanding the firm's investor base, while extending the company's debt maturity profile, where SES now has no further senior debt maturities to be financed until early 2020.

Chris Forrester.

BNP Paribas, ING Bank, Landesbank Baden-Württemberg and Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen acted as joint arrangers for the transaction.

Chris also notes that Thales Alenia Space says they are finalist tests on the last batch of satellites for SES-owned O3b.

These four satellites will help O3b increase connectivity to their clients, which include some of the world’s largest cruise ships, including vessels operated by Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean.

The satellites are having their final tests carried out at the Thales Alenia facility in Rome and will conclude by the end of January. The satellites will then be flown to French Guiana in readiness for launch.

Launch of all four satellites is currently scheduled for March 2019 and they will join the existing fleet of 16 satellites to conclude the 20-satellite constellation.

SES is also building – with Boeing – a series of seven highly sophisticated O3b mPower satellites which will operate in MEO. They should be ready to start launching in 2021 and will provide further expansion for the O3b fleet.