Bangladesh set to join the space age

Bangladeshi 1st Satellite

This is an artist rendering not an actual satellite

Bangladesh Satellite

€157m HSBC loan deal finalized

Bangladesh is going to borrow €157.5 million (1,386 crore) from HSBC to finance Bangabandhu-1, country’s first space satellite.

This loan is going to cost Bangladesh, Libor plus 1.51 percent and is going to be repayable in 20 installments, in 12 years.

Shahjahan Mahmood, chairman of BTRC, and Mahbub ur Rahman, deputy chief executive officer of HSBC (Bangladesh), finished all formalities at the BTRC office in Dhaka, for their respective companies.

The signing ceremony was witnessed by State Minister for Posts and Telecommunications Tarana Halim and French Ambassador to Bangladesh Sophie Aubert.

The BTRC and HSBC (Bangladesh) had agreed to the terms and condition for the €157.5 million deal earlier July. It was then sent to the government for approval.

The telecom regulator was finally given the go-ahead recently said, Mahmood.

The interest payable is the lowest the HSBC globally, he added.

State Minister Tarana said although it took some time, to finalize the financing deal, the project is going to be implemented without wasting time.

“It’s a project with national pride, and we will be able to launch the satellite according to our plan.”

Senior BTRC officials informed funds will be spent on the satellite’s design and installation along with an insurance coverage.

The government will be spending another €56.5 million from its own resources to launch Bangabandhu-1.

It will cost approx 2,967.95 crore (approx €338 million) With Bangladesh government, contributing 1,314 crore (€150 million) for it.

Officials are hopeful that it will cost much less, as BTRC has received many offers in the last two years.

In November last year, Thales Alenia Space, a French aerospace manufacturer, has been contracted by the telecom regulator for $248 million (approx €220 million) to design, install and launch the satellite.

It’s anticipated Bangabandhu-1 will be launched on the Victory Day (December 16) in 2017, from Florida’s Cape Canaveral.

Thales has already been paid about €71 million ($79.82 million) in three installments.

Furthermore, BTRC will be forming a public limited company named Bangladesh Satellite Communication Ltd, which will look after commercial operation.

in this regard, BTRC has already received approval from the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms.

Presently, Bangladesh meets its demand for satellite connectivity by leasing bandwidth from foreign operators, at the cost of $14 million a year. The Bangabandhu-1 is expected to save foreign currency reserves and also earn by selling any spare capacity to other nations.

Bangladesh has plans to launch another two satellites in the coming years.

(€1 = 87.63, €1=  $1.12, $1 = ৳77.95)

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