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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 22 August 2018

Etisalat completes sale of Thuraya stake for Dh137m

Star Satellite Communications, an SPV owned by Yahsat, buys Etisalat's 20.04% stakes 

A Yahsat owned SPV has bought Etisalat's 20.04 per cent stake in Thuraya. Image Al Yah 3 - Courtesy Yahsat
A Yahsat owned SPV has bought Etisalat's 20.04 per cent stake in Thuraya. Image Al Yah 3 - Courtesy Yahsat

Etisalat, the UAE's biggest telecoms operator, on Thursday said it completed the sale of its stake in Thuraya Telecommunications company for $37 million (Dh137m) to Star Satellite Communications.

The deal to sell Etisalat’s 20.04 per cent stake in the UAE satellite operator was closed on on Wednesday, it said in a statement to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, where its shares are traded.

Star, a special purpose vehicle owned by Al Yah Satellite Communications (Yahsat), acquired the stake after receiving regulatory approvals, and meeting condition of Yahsat “acquiring at least 75.001 per cent ownership in Thuraya,” Etisalat said.

Satellite operator Yahsat in April announced an agreement to buy a majority stake in the mobile satellite services operator Thuraya, without disclosing the financial details of the transaction.

“The acquisition of the UAE’s first home-grown satellite operator, Thuraya, will significantly expand Yahsat’s current satellite solutions portfolio for both commercial and government verticals, as well as its global footprint,” the company said in a statement at the time.

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Yahsat, which launched its third satellite Al Yah 3 in January, is anticipating greater demand for satellite broadband services on the back of higher uptake in Internet of Things serviced industries such as oil and gas and on the growth of sustainable cities in the region. The company's acquisition of a majority stake in Thuraya is part of efforts to grow its mobility segment, Yahsat chief executive Masood Mahmood told The National in June.

Thuraya, which operates two satellites serving 140 countries, will expand Yahsat’s portfolio to five. In all, Yahsat will have a combination of geostationary satellites which will cover Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South America and Asia, providing a broad range of fixed and mobile satellite services encompassing voice and data communications.

It will expand Yahsat’s commercial Ka-band coverage to an additional 19 new markets in Africa, reaching 60 per cent of the population. Furthermore, Al Yah 3 will serve Brazil, covering over 95 per cent of its population, it said in April.

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