Astro signs 15-year satellite deal with MEASAT worth RM1.5b

The agreement was inked following the lease expiry of 12 transponders on the M3, 6 transponders on the M3a

By SHAZNI ONG / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd has inked an agreement with MEASAT Communication Systems Sdn Bhd (MCS) for the usage of 12 transponder capacity on the MEASAT-3d (M3d) satellite for US$360 million (RM1.49 billion) over a 15-year period.

In a filing to Bursa yesterday, Astro said the agreement via its wholly owned subsidiary, MEASAT Broadcast Network Systems Sdn Bhd (MBNS), was inked following the lease expiry of 12 transponders on the M3 satellite and six transponders on the M3a satellites on Feb 22, 2022, and July 20, 2024, respectively.

“After the expiry, MBNS will only have the use of transponders on one operational satellite: The M3d satellite,” the pay-TV operator said.

MBNS is currently leasing 42 transponders of its satellites to provide direct-to-home (DTH) and Internet access services to its subscribers.

Astro added that the proposed utilisation will allow MBNS to use the transponder capacity on the M3d satellite, which is expected to be launched in 2022.

“This will satisfy MBNS’ business continuity plan requirements to have the use of transponders on at least two operating satellites.

“In addition, with the improvement in video compression technology, the 12 transponders on the M3d satellite is expected to replace the 18 existing transponders on the M3 and M3a satellites,” Astro stated.

“As the M3d satellite will be co-located with the current MBNS satellites, the satellite dishes of MBNS’ subscribers would not need to be repositioned, thereby minimising any disruption to MBNS’ DTH services.”

Astro also announced that MBNS has agreed with MEASAT International (South Asia) Ltd (MISAL) for the early termination entered between both parties dated April 12, 2018, for the utilisation of transponder capacity on the M3b satellite.

Both MCS and MISAL are the subsidiaries of MEASAT Global Bhd. Astro also said the proposed early termination will allow MBNS to terminate the lease of the six transponders on the M3b satellite which it no longer requires.

Astro closed two sen or 1.37% higher to RM1.48 yesterday, with a market capitalisation of RM7.72 billion.