Telesat seeks to raise US$500M in secured note offering

Dan Goldberg
Dan Goldberg is CEO of Ottawa-based Telesat. File photo

Ottawa-based Telesat says it intends to issue US$500 million worth of new secured notes as it ramps up production of its multibillion-dollar fleet of low-Earth orbit satellites.

The satellite equipment provider said Tuesday that proceeds from the planned offering to institutional buyers will help finance Telesat’s Lightspeed satellite program. The ambitious project will eventually see nearly 300 low-Earth-orbit satellites circling the globe. 

Stationed between 1,000 and 1,300 kilometres above Earth, the satellites are designed to deliver broadband internet speeds comparable to those offered by fibre-optic networks. 

Unlike some of its competitors, Telesat’s satellite network won’t deliver broadband connectivity directly to consumers. Instead, it will provide “backhaul” connections to enterprise customers such as internet service providers, airlines and cruise ship operators, who will then send the signals over their own networks.

Earlier this year, Telesat agreed to a US$3-billion deal that will see Thales Alenia Space manufacture the constellation, with the first satellites expected to launch in 2023. The Ottawa firm plans to build a new campus in Gatineau to oversee the satellite network’s operations.

Privately held Telesat’s principal shareholders are Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board and Loral Space & Communications. The company, which employs more than 450 people in Ottawa, plans to go public on the Nasdaq later this year.