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UAE’s Yahsat Completes Acquisition Of Thuraya; Appoints New Thuraya CEO

Thuraya Gateway in Sharjah, UAE; Credits: Thuraya

Yahsat, the Abu Dhabi-based satellite communications operator, has completed its buyout of Dubai-based Thuraya, a leading mobile satellite services operator, and has also announced the appointment of a new chief executive officer for Thuraya, Ali Al Hashemi.

The announcement was made on 5 August 2018 after Etisalat, the largest telecommunications operator in the UAE, announced late last week that it had sold its stake in Thuraya for U.S.$37 million to Star Satellite Communications, a subsidiary of Yahsat.

Yahsat, a wholly-owned company of the UAE’s Mubadala Investment Company, now holds a controlling stake in Thuraya.

Ali Al Hashemi, the new Thuraya CEO, was formerly the head of Yahsat Government Solutions, looking after clients in the Emirati military and government sectors. Al Hashemi replaces Ahmed Al Shamsi who has helmed Thuraya for the past couple of years, and who will stay on to advise Al Hashemi in his new role. In the meantime, Ali Al Hashemi will continue in his role as General Manager of Yahsat Government Solutions.

Masood M. Sharif Mahmood, the CEO of Yahsat, said in a company statement that, “The Thuraya acquisition provides us with an ideal opportunity to grow and diversify our business, bolstering our satellite solutions capabilities on both government and commercial fronts.”

“By integrating the portfolios of the two companies under the leadership of Ali Al Hashemi, we will together be able to offer a comprehensive mobile and fixed satellite services portfolio, further strengthening our value proposition to our customers. We are excited about growing together and understanding how we can work in unison, share new ideas, and ultimately serve our customers better,” Mahmood added.

“I would like to thank Ahmed Al Shamsi for his exceptional leadership and contribution towards building Thuraya into a global mobile satellite services player throughout his tenure spanning more than two decades with Thuraya, Ahmed is a true veteran in the satellite industry, Thuraya will benefit from his expertise through his advisory role,” said Ali Al Hashemi in the same statement.

Along with the appointment of Al Hashemi as Thuraya’s new CEO, Yahsat also announced the appointment of Marcus Vilaςa as the Chief Technical Officer of both Thuraya and Yahsat, and of Shawkat Ahmed as Thuraya’s Chief Commercial Officer, replacing former acting Thuraya CCO Rashid Baba.

Thuraya’s two satellites now join the Yahsat fleet, and their combined capabilities now compose a single portfolio of satellite communications services from geostationary satellites operating in the C-, Ka-, Ku-, and L-bands across Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia, and South America. Yahsat, through its acquisition of Thuraya, can now provide fixed and mobile satellite services to its corporate and government clients.

The acquisition of Thuraya by Yahsat also strengthens its position to take greater advantage of the satellite communications market for the expanding Internet-of-Things (IoT) and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) connectivity.


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