Forrester Reports: Unsecured Creditors Gain Intelsat Bankruptcy Court Access + Telesat Wants More…

Chris Forrester

Some Intelsat smaller shareholders are appealing to the US Trustee that they gain special representation in the bankruptcy court, saying that they are being ignored in the satellite operator’s reconstruction and that they fear being wiped out in the process, as is being reported by journalist Chris Forrester at the Advanced Television infosite.

There is a planned hearing on June 9th into many matters connected with Intelsat’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Their letter to US Trustee John Fitzgerald, as first reported in industry magazines, stated, “[Intelsat] management deliberately defaulted on a debt payment when they had the cash on hand to pay. They also stated that the bankruptcy was only necessary to acquire a bridge loan that would allow the company to move forward on a lucrative 5G FCC contract. After filing for bankruptcy, management revealed that they had sourced the bridge loan internally, but now wished to use this opportunity for a full restructure. Wiping out shareholders would seem to be management’s logical next step – given such a lack of transparency.”

The letter also referred to allegations of insider trading and said that Intelsat’s management had not acted in the best interests of all shareholders.

Fitzgerald on May 27th created a committee of unsecured creditors comprising Boeing, the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp, Delaware Trust, JSAT International and others to serve.

Also being reported at the Advanced Television infosite: Notwithstanding the financial challenges head – and a string of bankruptcies from those pushing for satellite mega constellations – Ottawa-based Telesat is asking US regulators to approve a significant expansion of its planned 209-craft constellation. Now it wants 1,671 satellites.

Earlier this week, it was reported that OneWeb, despite being in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, wants to boost its constellation to a massive 48,000 satellites in orbit from the current planned 648. Just 74 were orbited prior to it entering bankruptcy protection.

Back in November of 2019, LeoSat, a would-be constellation operator, failed and suspended operations, having struggled to put financing in place. LeoSat, which was backed in part by Thales Alenia Space, wanted 108 satellites in orbit. Its initial finance came from Hispasat and SkyPerfect/JSAT of Japan but the two declined to participate in a further funding round.

Telesat already has two test/debut satellites in orbit, but is just one business that, on May 26th, filed applications to the FCC to modify its plans. OneWeb made its similar 48,000 satellite expansion plan on the same day.

Telesat initially wanted just 117 satellites in its LEO plan. Then its plans expanded to 298 craft. Now it wants a 1,671 constellation in two orbits for efficient delivery of broadband connectivity.  However, it has yet to confirm who will build or launch the satellites but has signed provisional contracts with two – unnamed – prime contractors.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX is also extremely active in this space with his ‘Starlink’ system already having launched some 420 satellites. Another 60 were due to launch on May 27th but the planned – and now delayed – launch of two astronauts to the International Space Station interfered with the Starlink launch schedule. The next launch for Starlink is now expected in early June. Musk has firm plans for an initial 12,000 satellites and eventually another 30,000 on top of that.

The ‘Holy Grail’ for these low-orbit satellites is low latency broadband connectivity and then delivering that bandwidth to any location on the planet.


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