ST Engineering Targets SATCOM Market with €250 Million Acquisition Offer for Newtec

Singapore Technologies Engineering, through its European subsidiary wing, has entered into a conditional share purchase agreement to acquire 100% ownership in Newtec Group NV, an established Belgium-based SATCOM solutions company. They have offered €250 million (approximately Singapore $383m) on a cash-free and debt-free basis for the proposed acquisition, subject to closing adjustments.

Satcom is a fast-growing industry with an expected CAGR of 8% over the next 10 years. The surge of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) constellations will increase bandwidth capacity and reduce operating cost, thereby creating new demand. New use cases, especially to support Smart City applications such as IoT and connected cars, will drive demand for satcom services.

ST Engineering has been growing its satcom business through its U.S.-based iDirect and Singapore-based satcom product and solution business. The company’s satcom business is an industry leader in the Aeronautical and Maritime segments and has led the industry’s transition to high-throughput satellite (HTS) managed services. It is also the technology provider for leading global satellite operators such as Inmarsat, Intelsat and SES.

In 2018, ST Engineering formed a JV company named Jet-Talk Limited, in partnership with SatixFy UK, to develop cost-effective, high-performance flat panel antenna to address the growing demand for in-flight connectivity. The company offers a suite of satcom solutions to provide seamless global network and bandwidth management with end-to-end integration that addresses the growing needs of enterprise, government, mobility and defence market globally.

On the other hand, Newtec is a key technology provider in the satellite broadcast segment with unique ultra-high throughput capabilities and a strong presence in the European satcom market. It has a proven range of cost-effective consumer satellite terminals, and industry-leading bandwidth efficiency technology. Recently, Newtec was among the first companies to successfully test over-the-air communication via LEO satellites. LEO satellites are expected to take off with the launch of more than 5,000 satellites in the coming years. The company is also well placed to leverage the advent of IP-based satellite broadcast which is critical for real-time content distribution.

The proposed acquisition of Newtec will add intellectual property, products and market access. ST Engineering will continue to invest in Newtec in Belgium to position it to be the company’s European centre for the satcom business. The complementary and synergistic effect of this proposed acquisition will enable ST Engineering to meet demand across the full spectrum of the satcom market.

With enhanced satcom capabilities, ST Engineering can better participate and lead the advancement of the satcom industry to enable Smart Cities globally. Capitalizing on an enlarged IP and product portfolio, the company will be able to:

  • Accelerate the deployment of satcom-enabled 5G telco network, bringing high bandwidth connectivity to remote regions. This will help bridge the digital divide and enable the development of new applications such as tele-medicine and tele-education.
  • Address the growing needs for IoT and M2M connectivity, where millions of devices and telematic sensor points are expected to be connected for surveillance, data gathering and big data analytics.
  • Provide end-to-end solutions for the mobility segment, enabling seamless internet connectivity and remote monitoring for the aeronautical, maritime and connected car segments.

The Consideration was arrived at after negotiations between the parties taking into account, among other factors, Newtec’s current financial performance and future growth prospects. The Consideration translates into a multiple of 14.6 times Newtec’s EBITDA and 2.7 times revenue for the financial year ended 30 September 2018. The businesses when combined, is expected to produce about S$200m in value creation arising from revenue and cost synergies.

Subject to regulatory approvals and conditions that include receipt of clearance from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, Foreign Investment Review in France, and anti-trust approvals in Austria, the Proposed Acquisition is expected to complete in 2H2019.