Kacific to choose vendor for new $300m satellite ‘by end of July’

Christian Patouraux with background.jpg

Singapore-based satellite company Kacific is aiming to make a first selection of the supplier for its second wholesale broadband satellite by the end of July.

CEO and founder Christian Patouraux (pictured) will then need to raise an estimated US$300 million in debt and equity, he told Capacity this morning.

Kacific2, with a planned service date of late 2025 or early 2026, will provide 150Gbps of broadband to south and south-east Asia, west of the area covered by Kacific1, which covers a wide stretch of Asia and the Pacific, as far south as New Zealand.

The three satellite suppliers in the company’s sights are Airbus and Thales of France and Boeing of the US. Both Airbus and Thales have operations in Toulouse, close to where Patouraux is currently on holiday. “I’ll be in Toulouse on Thursday,” he told Capacity.

The company’s decision will be “a soft selection” of one vendor, with the other two kept on standby in case later discussions falter.

Kacific’s main markets for its first satellite, which went into orbit via SpaceX in December 2019, are Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Indonesia, said Patouraux.

But it also provides services to Nepal in the Himalayas and received public attention earlier this year for delivering 1Gbps to Tonga after its subsea cables were destroyed by a volcano, cutting the island group off entirely. Nepal and Tonga are 12,000km apart.

Patouraux expects that the necessary $300 million for Kacific2 will come about 60% from equity and 40% from debt, he told Capacity. The company is also considering a third satellite, Kacific3, which might be ordered at the same time as Kacific2, he added, “if we secure enough finance”.

The market for Kacific1, which cost $227 million, is 70% enterprise and other large users, such as schools, health care and government, and 30% mobile backhaul. “We connect 300 4G towers in Indonesia,” said Patouraux.

He is also reviewing plans for Kacific4 and Kacific5 satellites, he added.