Satnews Daily
September 29th, 2014

Airbus Defence & Space's Satellite + Maritime SATCOM Biz, As Well as Marlink, Go On Sale...

[SatNews]... This decision has been taken as a result was described as the "next logical step" following a 2013 meeting... 

Airbus Defence and Space is divesting its commercial satcoms business, including its maritime satcoms division and subsidiary Marlink to focus on their core aerospace and defense work.

Bernard Gerwert head of Airbus’ Defence and Space unit issued a statement: "After a detailed and comprehensive portfolio assessment, Airbus Defence and Space has defined Space (Launchers & Satellites), Military Aircraft, Missiles and related Systems and Services as its future core businesses. These are the areas in which the Division will further invest to strengthen its leading position.

Some business areas are identified as divestment candidates as they do not fit the strategic goals and for which the company sees possibilities to increase their development potential in different set-ups."

This decision has been taken as a result was described as the "next logical step" following a 2013 meeting of Airbus Defence and Space’s Group‎ Strategy Review, and the company believes business areas such as commercial satellite communications services, "will have better chances for growth and market success in different ownership structures." 

The news comes two years after the German government blocked a merger between Airbus, then EADS, and Britain’s BAE Systems. "Given the tight budgetary situations in our home countries and increasing competition on global markets, the portfolio review is an essential element to further develop our defence and space business and to ensure its competitiveness. "We have identified those segments where this is an achievable target and those where we should explore alternative options. In short, the portfolio review is a logical next step in the overall transformation process.  

I want to make clear that this is not just about cutting more jobs or closing more sites, quite the contrary, we’re focusing on certain businesses and are looking for someone who’s willing to develop and invest in these businesses.

It will strengthen Airbus Defence and Space’s business core, unlocking its full potential to drive the defence and space industry forwards, particularly on critically important international growth markets."

Mr. Gerwert added that discussions with the company’s employees on the implications of the move would be conducted "in a fair and open way." Learn more about Airbus here.

The Airbus Group acquired satellite communications provider Vizada in 2011 at a cost of almost $1 billion, adding the business to its Astrium division, which was subsequently renamed as Airbus Defence and Space.

Vizada itself was created through a merger of the France Telecom Mobile Satellite Communications and Telenor Satellite Services (including Marlink), after those two businesses were acquired by Apax Partners in 2007.

Airbus Defence and Space’s announcement of this intention to sell has not included any indication of potential buyers, however much speculation includes Inmarsat, the largest provider of Inmarsat services and they also hold a major share of the VSAT market.

Sale of the businesses, with combined annual revenues of EUR2bn ($2.6bn), is expected to generate between EUR1.5bn and EUR2bn, according to figures from one Wall Street Journal report.