SES ASTRA and Yahsat Start Middle-East Satellite CompanyMonday, April 20th, 2009
‘YahLive’ to offer Direct-to-Home TV capacity to Middle East and Northern Africa
LUXEMBOURG/ABU DHABI — SES ASTRA, an SES company (Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG), announced today that it has entered into a partnership with the Arab satellite operator Al Yah Satellite Communications Company (Yahsat) to create a new company operating under the YahLive brand that will offer Direct-to-Home (DTH) television capacity and services to more than two dozen countries in the Middle East, North Africa and South West Asia, a large region mainly including the Gulf states and the Maghreb.
YahLive will offer DTH satellite services to free-to-air and pay-TV broadcasters in this region. It will own and commercialise 23 BSS-transponders on the Yahsat 1A spacecraft to be positioned at the 52.5 degrees East orbital position and operating in the Ku-band frequency. The satellite, procured from a consortium of EADS Astrium and Thales Alenia Space, is currently under construction and is scheduled to be launched by the fourth quarter of 2010.
Yahsat is a private joint stock company based in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates and owned by Mubadala, the investment arm of the government of Abu Dhabi.
“Creating a company with Yahsat opens a very important and dynamic new market for us, where we can leverage our core DTH competences and join forces with a strong player in the region,” said Ferdinand Kayser, Chief Executive Officer of SES ASTRA. “This partnership will establish a major business hub for SES ASTRA in the Middle East, and will add a new dimension to the existing strong regional presence of SES through the satellite operator SES NEW SKIES and the system integrator ND SatCom. The region is a market with significant growth potential as the fill rate of the Ku-band capacity is estimated at 90 percent, while demand is expected to grow faster than supply. We are very pleased to work with Yahsat to tap these markets and to contribute our knowledge in deploying satellite capacity as well as a large range of specialised ground and broadcasting services.”
“We are very pleased to announce this strategic partnership with one of the world’s leading satellite broadcasting operators. SES ASTRA’s significant experience in this sector will fast track our ability to create a new TV hotspot over the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region,” said Jassem Al Zaabi, Yahsat’s Chief Executive Officer. “This alliance also confirms the satellite industry’s conviction that Yahsat is the partner of choice in the region. As a new player in the broadcasting sector, we believe this partnership will enable Yahsat to make a very strong entry into the market.”