Covering fixed, wireless, cable and satellite infrastructure in the global telecommunications market


Case study: O3b Networks

Portland Advisers acted as lead financial advisor to O3b Networks, whose principal shareholders were SES, Google, Liberty Global and HSBC, for its $770 million debt financing for a medium earth orbit satellite constellation offering wholesale broadband connectivity to telecom providers in emerging markets.

The financing took the form of a complex multi-lender deal involving a $510 million COFACE-guaranteed loan funded by HSBC, ING, CA-CIB and Dexia and a $115m senior and $145m mezzanine loan package supported by DBSA, AFDB, DEG, Proparco, FMO, IFC and EAIF. The deal, which closed in Dec 2010, was awarded “2010 African Deal of the Year” by Project Finance International and Project Finance Magazine.

Nick Flitterman and his team were responsible for carrying out the following:

  • Review of all available company information, contractual structure and O3b’s business plan
  • Preparation of funders Financial Model
  • Analysis of financing options, recommendation of preferred structure
  • Engagement and management of lenders advisors (legal, technical, commercial, insurance)
  • Preparation of full Information Package for financial institutions
  • Preparation of detailed termsheet with lenders and O3b legal advisors
  • Management of bank funding competition to select lead Underwriters/Arrangers
  • Assistance with ECA / multilateral approval process
  • Assistance with negotiation of loan documentation up to signing
  • Assistance O3b to achieve Conditions Precedents to Financial Close

Since the original financing in 2010, Portland also advised O3b on a further $85m COFACE-guaranteed facility to support the build of four additional satellites which closed in November 2011, and a third facility supporting the launch of those satellites in September 2014. O3b, now part of SES, trades under O3b ‘mpower’ brand.