LOGAN, Utah — Maxar Technologies booked a non-cash impairment charge of $12 million to reflect the dilution of its equity interest in the OneWeb satellite broadband constellation.
The charge followed OneWeb’s most recent round of funding, totaling $1.25 billion.
Maxar’s MDA division in Canada in 2016 invested $25 million in OneWeb as a condition for receiving a contract to build 1,600 communications antennas for the OneWeb constellation at MDA’s Montreal facility.
Maxar was one of several suppliers and partners of OneWeb that invested modest amounts in the network. Others include Hughes Network Systems and satellite fleet operator Intelsat.
Since that investment, Maxar has carried the investment on its books at the $25-million value, which since the latest OneWeb funding round is probably more than what it’s worth.
Maxar Chief Financial Officer Biggs Porter said in an Aug. 6 conference call on Maxar’s financial results that other smaller investors in OneWeb are likely to take similar charges.
“OneWeb is funded through private capital,” Porter said. “They had a second round of funding, it was a down round of funding. So we and everybody else that had investments in OneWeb had to evaluate whether or not that last funding round at lower value represented an impairment. If you look across the industry, you will see other people who had OneWeb investments similar to us impaired their investment this quarter. Roughly speaking, 50% is reasonable, in the range of what others did.”
OneWeb has raised a total of $3.4 billion. OneWeb founder Greg Wyler, in an Aug. 6, presentation to the SmallSat Conference here, referred to the system as requiring $5 billion in capex.
Earlier estimates put OneWeb’s estimated capex at $6 billion, before the company reduced its first-generation constellation from 900 to some 650 satellites.
An industry official said the $1.25-billion funding round in March, much of it not in cash, includes:
— $505 million from lead investor Softbank.
— $300 million from Grupo Salinas of Mexico.
— $200 million from Airbus, co-prime contractor of the OneWeb satellites.
— $98 million from Qualcomm, providing the wireless air interface and modem.
— $27 million from the government of Rwanda, an early OneWeb backer.