Bharti Group-backed OneWeb on Thursday said Hanwha Systems of South Korea will infuse $300 million (Rs 2,228 crore) for an 8.8-per cent share in the low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite communications company.
The investment, expected to be completed in the first half of 2022 after necessary regulatory approvals, will bring OneWeb's total equity investment since November 2020 to $2.7 billion with no debt issuance.
"Hanwha, the South Korean Fortune 500 global technology (tech) and manufacturing company, has announced a $300-million equity investment by Hanwha Systems in OneWeb, the LEO satellite communications company backed by Bharti Group," said OneWeb in a statement.
Upon completion, OneWeb will appoint a board director to represent Hanwha's share in the company. OneWeb's first-generation fleet of 648 satellites - which will deliver global coverage in 2022 -is fully funded, the statement added.
So far, the company has launched 254 satellites into orbit, with another launch planned this August from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
"With Hanwha alongside, we will be able to access the highest quality of technological thinking and development. They are a powerful partner in our global mission to connect the world," said Sunil Mittal, founder and chairman, Bharti Enterprises.
In July 2020, a consortium led by Bharti Enterprises won the bid for OneWeb. Bharti had bid jointly with the UK government for the auction, and had said it would invest around $500 million each to acquire OneWeb, which had declared bankruptcy earlier this year.
Herbert Smith Freehills was the legal counsel, while Standard Chartered Bank acted as the financial advisor to Bharti Global. OneWeb will provide enhanced broadband and other services to mobile and fixed terminals in countries around the world.
The new tech becomes even more relevant in the pandemic era, as it offers high internet speed and low latency - a perfect combination of quality service to connect rural areas across the world with the internet.
OneWeb was formed in 2012 with a mission to offer high-speed, low-latency wireless broadband access to billions of people across the globe, especially in rural areas, through a constellation of satellites in low Earth orbit. Bharti was one of the founding members of OneWeb and had a strategic stake in the company.