OneWeb loses $229M exiting Russia
OneWeb has reportedly been hit with a $229 million writedown after cancelling launches from Russia’s Baikonur facility, with many of its low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites remaining unreturned.
This was disclosed in the satellite company’s annual report, stating the group’s operating loss has since increased 631% compared to the previous year.
The LEO satellite communications company is part-owned by the UK government, and suspended all launches from the Baikonur facility in Kazakhstan, operated by the Russian space agency Roscosmos, after Russia invaded Ukraine.
Dmitry Rogozin, former head of the Russian space agency, reportedly demanded the British government cut ties with the satellite company, which it refused to do.
Following the suspension, OneWeb partnered with Elon Musk’s SpaceX to use its rockets to resume its satellite launches which according to The Register was a move that came as a shock to many seeing as it rivalled SpaceX’s own Starlink satellite network.
Yet the cancellation of launches from Baikonur has left 36 of its satellites on Russian soil, resulting in the impairment of a portion of OneWeb’s prepaid launch insurance.
In July this year, OneWeb signed a provisional agreement to merge with French satellite operator Eutelsat. Upon completion, all of OneWeb, except for the stake owned by the UK government, will come under the ownership of Eutelsat.
“Our shareholders are united in their support for the business. Their backing has been instrumental in OneWeb overcoming several unprecedented challenges. We continue to receive strong support from governments across all continents.
“Our ecosystem partners in the space and ground segments have also stood by us, and we appreciate their cooperation,” said chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal.
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