Ottawa-based Telesat targeting IPO in 2021: Report

Dan Goldberg
Telesat CEO Dan Goldberg. File photo

Ottawa-based satellite equipment provider Telesat ​– which employs hundreds of people in the capital and is aiming to launch nearly 300 low-Earth-orbit satellites by the end of 2023 ​– is reportedly set to go public next year.

Citing unnamed sources, the Globe and Mail reported this week that the global satellite giant is expected to announce plans for an initial public offering later this fall to help fund its multibillion-dollar LEO satellite program. The report said the IPO would be announced after talks between Telesat’s two shareholders ​– Public Sector Pension Investments and Loral Space & Communications ​– are concluded.

Six months ago, Telesat CEO Dan Goldberg said Telesat expected to start announcing suppliers for the LEO program later this year and hopes to have some of the state-of-the-art new equipment in operation by the end of 2022. The new satellites will be able to provide high-speed internet service to customers in remote areas who can’t be reliably served by existing fibre-optic networks.

He said the firm expects the 10-year deal it signed last summer with the federal government to use the satellites to deliver high-speed internet service to rural customers will generate up to $1.2 billion over the life of the contract.

Goldberg also noted the company refinanced US$500 million in debt last fall. He said the refinancing will help lower Telesat’s borrowing costs for new growth capital as it prepares to ramp up production of its LEO satellites and bid on other lucrative contracts, including the Department of National Defence’s plan to station two new high-orbit satellites in the far north.

Telesat had revenues of $208 million in the second quarter, down 10 per cent from a year earlier. The firm posted a profit of $166 million for the three-month period ending June 30, up from $135 million the previous year.