SES to contribute to high tech space fund

SES has reached an agreement with the Luxembourg Government to renew its concession to operate satellites flying under the Luxembourg jurisdiction from 2022-42. The Luxembourg state still holds 5.7% of SES shares.
From 2025, SES will pay an annual fee of EUR1 million. From 2022, it will also pay EUR7 million per annum towards a dedicated fund to invest in high financial return projects linked to the satellite and space sector, as well as those that support scientific research or reduce the digital divide.
“The fund SES will be contributing to starting from 2022 is aimed to support and strengthen the Luxembourg space sector as well as benefit the wider local economy,” said SES.
This announcement follow disappointing news for C-Band Alliance (CBA) members Intelsat, SES and Telesat when they failed to gain approval from US regulator FCC to auction 300MHz of their 500MHz C-band capacity over the US for use by 5G operators.
The CBA had promised to pay a voluntary contribution to the US Treasury from the proceeds of the auction. However, on 18 November the FCC stated it intended to host a public auction, with the FCC paying out a percentage of its proceeds from the sale.
The announcement hit share prices hard with Intelsat’s price dropping 40% and SES’s price dropping 21%.
However, this saga is far from over, with more wrangling expected. FCC commissioner, Jessica Rosenworcel, has subsequently stated that the companies will be compensated for releasing spectrum to auction, although details of any compensation deal, auction terms and timetable are yet to be released (but expected in the New Year).