U.S. bank likely to finance construction of satellite

Azerbaijan, Baku, September 27 / Trend H. Valiyev /

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (US Ex-Im) has expressed willingness to consider financing of the construction of Azerspace, the first Azerbaijani telecommunications satellite, the government has told Trend.

"Azerbaijan is negotiating a loan worth $ 20 million and US Ex-Im offered the government to provide an advance worth $4-5 million", a government source said.

US Ex-Im will consider the issue of financing the project during preliminary negotiations conducted by the Azerbaijani Communications and IT Ministry.

Today, the U.S. bank gave Azerbaijan economic, financial and technical proposals for the project. The Ministry of Finance asked for the calculations from the Communications and IT Ministry to clarify how the loan will be spent. External borrowings for the project will be brought under the state guarantee.

The ministry said that the state budget will finance about 20 percent of the construction of the telecommunications satellite. US Ex-Im will provide with the remaining funds. The loan will be allocated by the France's largest bank, BNP Paribas.

The deal is expected to be financed by US Ex-Im with a two-year period of use the funds and a 10-year repayment period.

Earlier, the ministry signed a long-term contract on leasing an orbital position for Azerspace with the Malaysian MEASAT satellite operator.

According to the plans of the Communications Ministry, the first satellite is expected to be launched in June 2012. A carrier rocket will be determined one of these days to launch the satellite into orbit. The insurance of the satellite will be also determined. At present, the Ministry is working to evaluate the proposals of companies producing a carrier rocket, ILS, Arianespace, SpaceX and Ukroboronservis.

The International Telecommunications Union has already allocated a spot for the Azerspace satellite at 23.2 and 95.9 degrees east.

Azerspace will provide digital broadcasting, Internet access, data transmission, VSAT multi-service networks, and governmental communications.

The satellite will be equipped with 24 transponders C band and 12 transponders Ku band. It will be placed in orbit at 46 degrees east longitude. The satellite's term is 20 years.

One of the priority issues, facing the Ministry, is the implementation of satellite resources. The ministry intends to deliver 80 percent of Azerspace resources to the international market and use the remaining 20 percent at the local level.

Its service area will cover Europe, Central Asia and Africa.

Azerbaijan's capital investment in the project is roughly 319 million manat; 127 million will be spent on operating costs. The payback period is six years, and the income will reach 176 million manat.

The income from Azerspace will reach 495 million manat.

The profit will hit 176 million manat.

The received revenue will be spent on the country's technological development.

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