Satellite firm goes to Subic

Transfers Control Centre

January 31, 2010

by Jeremiah F. de Guzman

Agila-2 satellite (ABS)Asia Broadcasting Systems, a major satellite operator in Asia, is transferring the control of $800 million worth of equipment to its Subic facility this year.

ABS chief executive Tom Choi said in a statement that the company would beef up its workforce by over 50 percent in two years and train staff for the transfer of the control operations to the Subic center from the southern part of Hong Kong.

“In short, an $800 million worth of satellite equipment will be controlled in our operating center in Subic,” Choi said.

The Subic center, he said, would control five of the company’s satellites—ABS 1, ABS 1-A, ABS 2, ABS 5 and ABS 6.

The satellites serve the firm’s markets in Asia-Pacific, Russia, Africa and the Atlantic. ABS recently acquired Mabuhay Satellite Corp. of the Philippines, which operated the Agila-2 satellite, now renamed ABS-5.

Choi said ABS would invest over $5 million for training and additional infrastructure in its ground facility in Subic, adding that the firm would hire a minimum of 20 new employees this year.

“The investment will include new control equipment, new software, big antennas and satellite control equipment that will all be located in our Subic control center,” he said.

Choi added the company would spend an additional $300 million for another satellite to replace Agila 2 in preparation for its retirement in five years.

“Our investments in the Philippines will be long term,” he said.

ABS, whose control operations are in Hong Kong, said its main clients in the Philippines are telecommunication and broadcasting firms, including Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., Bayan Telecommunications Inc., GMA Network Inc. and ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp.

ABS in November signed an agreement for the purchase of Mabuhay Satellite’s business.

“ABS will maintain all of Mabuhay’s operations in the Philippines and the staff will be integrated with the ABS team,” Choi said.

He said revenues from the Philippines would account for 15 percent to 20 percent of the total after the merger.

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