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TA Associates completes buyout of SpeedCast

Private equity firm TA Associates has, with the support of the existing management team, completed a buyout of SpeedCast, a global network and satellite communications service provider, from Asia Satellite Telecommunications (AsiaSat).

SpeedCast provides very small aperture terminal (VSAT) satellite-based broadband access services, managed networking solutions and value-added services in more than 30 countries primarily in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. SpeedCast’s customers include telecom carriers, internet service providers, governments and non-governmental organisations, and other enterprises requiring communication services in locations where wire-based communication is not possible or practical, or where mobility is required.

Through its SeaCast offering, the company serves the broadband needs of the maritime and offshore oil and gas industries.

The company uses 16 teleports (satellite ground stations) across the globe and more than 20 VSAT hubs, and operates eight sales and support centres. Founded in 1999, SpeedCast is headquartered in Hong Kong, with offices in Beijing, Singapore, Dubai and Kuala Lumpur.

“As a profitable and rapidly growing company, SpeedCast ideally fits TA’s investment profile,” says Edward F. Sippel, managing principal – Asia Pacific at TA Associates, who will join the SpeedCast board of directors. “As one of the largest VSAT operators serving Asia, the Middle East and Africa, and one of the few with a multi-country footprint, SpeedCast has the opportunity to become the leading provider in a vibrant and burgeoning market. TA looks forward to collaborating with SpeedCast management to execute a strategy of organic and acquisitive growth.”

“We are pleased to welcome TA Associates as an investor in SpeedCast and to our Board of Directors,” says Pierre-Jean Beylier, chief executive of SpeedCast. “We look forward to working with TA because of their demonstrated ability to add value to their portfolio companies, and because of their management-friendly approach. We see several near- and long-term opportunities for growth in our markets and will benefit from TA’s support on these endeavours.”

VSAT service revenues in Asia, the Middle East and Africa are projected to grow at an eight per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next five years, approximately twice the rate of Western markets, according to industry analyst Comsys. The global maritime VSAT market is experiencing particularly robust growth. Comsys reported that worldwide maritime VSAT service revenues doubled to USD800m between 2004 and 2009.

SpeedCast is TA’s eighth investment in the region following its five earlier investments in India and two recent investments in companies operating in China – Forgame Tech and Aicent.

Goodwin Procter provided legal counsel to TA Associates.

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