The merger is expected to create the Mena region’s first AI-powered space technology company

Yahsat’s stand at Idex and Navdex 2023 in Abu Dhabi. The company offers satellite
services in more than 150 countries. Khushnum Bhandari / The National

Two Abu Dhabi companies have decided to merge in a deal that will create one of the world’s most valuable listed space companies.

Bayanat, a geospatial data products and services provider, and Al Yah Satellite Communications, better known as Yahsat, will have a market capitalisation of Dh15 billion ($4.08 billion), based on the closing share prices of both businesses as of December 18.

“This merger will unite two leading home-grown companies to create the Mena region’s first AI-powered space technology company,” Bayanat chairman Tareq Al Hosani said on Tuesday.

“Together, we will leverage our key synergies to reinforce our position as a key engine of growth and strategic solutions provider to the UAE government and its agencies, while expanding our reach to global customers.”

Yahsat swings to third-quarter profit on higher revenue

The proposed transaction will be executed through a share swap, with Bayanat remaining as the legal entity, the companies said.

The shareholders of Bayanat and Yahsat will own 54 per cent and 46 per cent, respectively, or the merged business.

Bayanat, which is majority owned by AI and cloud group G42, was created after the commercialisation of the UAE’s Military Survey Department, a sector of the Armed Forces.

It provides national-level mapping and geospatial products and services for the public and private sectors in the Emirates.

Meanwhile, Yahsat, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi’s sovereign investment arm Mubadala Investment Company, offers satellite services in more than 150 countries across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, South America, Asia and the Australasia region.

The merger, which is expected to take place in the second half of 2024, is subject to several conditions, including regulatory approvals from governmental authorities such as the Securities and Commodities Authority and the Abu Dhabi Global Market Registration Authority.

Bayanat and Yahsat will continue to operate independently until the merger is effective.

Competition in the space sector is heating up with more private players entering the industry.

The space economy grew by 8 per cent to $546 billion in 2022 and is projected to expand by another 41 per cent over the next five years, according to the Space Foundation.

The UAE, the Arab world’s second-largest economy, has the largest space sector in the region in terms of investment size and diversity.

Last year, the Emirates launched a Dh3 billion ($820 million) fund to support its space programme and a new initiative to develop radar satellites.

“The merger is a compelling opportunity to amplify value creation for shareholders, utilising synergies and strategic consolidation to create a technologically advanced champion,” said Yahsat chairman Musabbeh Al Kaabi.

“The enlarged entity will benefit from accelerated growth potential as a player of scale with enhanced competitive advantage.”

Yahsat swung to a profit in the third quarter as revenue received a boost from the strong performance of its mobility solutions business and higher finance income.

Net profit attributable to shareholders of the company for the three months to the end of September stood at $26.4 million, compared with a loss of $10.2 million during the same period last year.

The company’s revenue for the period grew by 8 per cent annually to $117.4 million, which was the second highest on record.

[19 Dec 2023] Abu Dhabi’s Bayanat and Yahsat to merge to create $4.1bn space company
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