Gazprom Space Systems secures funding for Yamal-400 project

2 September 2010

Satellite Finance

Russian satellite operator Gazprom Space Systems (GSS) has secured approximately US$731m in debt financing to fund its Yamal-400 project.

The debt is split between a euro-denominated Cofacebacked loan, a dollar-denominated loan and two lines of credit, one in dollars the other in roubles, from Gazprombank. All the facilities are guaranteed by GSS' parent Gazprom and are designated to fund the construction and launch of the Yamal- 401 and Yamal-402 satellites.

The ECA supported loan is worth EUR223m and is being arranged by BNP Paribas, Citibank and Credit Agricole CIB.

Those banks are also lead arrangers and underwriters for the US$298m loan.

Gazprombank, which like GSS is a subsidiary of natural gas giant Gazprom, is providing two lines of credit worth Rbs1755m (approximately US$57m) and US$94m. Both have nine-year terms.

At the end of May 2010, Thales Alenia Space began work on the Yamal-400 programme after receiving the first payment.

Yamal-402 will be produced solely by Thales and is based on the Spacebus-4000 C3 platform. The satellite will carry 46 Ku-band transponders dedicated to five different areas - Russia, North, Europe, South (Africa) and mobile coverage.

Yamal-402 will be located at 55E and is due to be launched by International Launch Services in 2012.

Yamal-401 is being built and integrated by ISS Reshetnev with Thales developing the payload and some platform equipment. Based on the Express 2000 platform, Yamal-401 will be fitted with 36 Ku-band transponders for the North and Russia coverage zones, and with 17 C-band transponders for broader coverage of the North zone. The satellite will be located at 90E and is due to be launched by an ILS Proton rocket in 2013.

Alongside Yamal-300, which is due to be launched in November 2011, the Yamal-400 project is integral to solving GSS' future capacity concerns. The three satellites will increase the company's satellite capacity by four times and their need was made even greater following Yama-100 being moved into a graveyard orbit at the end of July 2010. GSS' other two satellites, Yamal-201 and Yamal-202, have been fully loaded already for two years.

Herbert Smith provided GSS with legal advice in connection to the financing. 

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