BT is to sell part of its Aeronautical and Maritime division to Stratos Global Corporation for £157 million (approximately Canadian $350 million), subject to satisfaction of certain due diligence conditions.
The business operates land earth stations and provides a full global range of Inmarsat based mobile satellite services for customers calling to or from remote locations at sea, in the air or on land where other telecommunications infrastructure is not available. Turnover for the year ending March 31, 2000 was approximately £85 million.
The sale includes BT’s land earth station network providing connection between satellites and the terrestrial network, together with customer and supplier contracts. Also to be sold is the entire share capital of BT Netley (New Zealand) Ltd, a wholly owned BT subsidiary providing Inmarsat land earth station services for the Pacific Ocean region.
Aeronautical and Maritime also provides in-flight passenger communications and the assets and contracts for this business will also transfer to Stratos.
BT currently has around 110 people working directly for Aeronautical and Maritime, with around another 110 people indirectly supporting the business from other parts of BT. It is expected that around 70 people will transfer to Stratos. All other employees will remain with BT with a significant number to work on an outsourcing basis providing services to Stratos, in particular at the Goonhilly earth station in Cornwall.