NewSat CEO, CFO ousted in satellite saga

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NewSat CEO, CFO ousted in satellite saga
Adrian Ballintine

Asset fire sale nears end.

The chief executive and chief financial officer of struggling satellite company NewSat were ousted this week as the company tries to sell off its assets following ongoing financial troubles.

The positions held by NewSat CEO Adrian Ballintine and CFO Mark Spragg had been rendered "surplus to NewSat's needs", the company's administrators said today.

They revealed Ballintine had been made redundant last Friday and Spragg let go yesterday.

Ballintine founded NewSat in 1987 and had been its CEO since 1999. 

Spragg, of FTI Consulting, served as the company's interim CFO after its former finance chief Linda Dillon exited in an "agreed termination" in April.

NewSat went into administration in April following persistent financial problems stemming from covenants with its US and French financiers.

The halt in financing meant it was unable to make payments to partners Arianespace and Lockheed Martin, which last week saw its deal with the defence contractor to build the 600 million Jabiru-1 satellite cancelled.

NewSat's administrators were not able to provide a guarantee that the Australian satellite company would be successful with refinancing.

Lockheed Martin also seized ownership of the satellite after NewSat's receivers opted against taking on liability for the rest of the construction cost.

NewSat today advised it had agreed with satellite launch provider Arianespace that its administrators would take on liability for their launch service agreement before July 15 or have the contract cancelled.

Arianespace has pushed back the launch date of the Jabiru-1 satellite to between December 2016 and February 2017. It had initially been scheduled to launch in the first half of next year.

Arianespace has also suspended all of its launch preparation activities, NewSat said.

The company's administrators are now attempting to sell off NewSat's assets - which no longer includes the Jabiru-1 satellite - either in whole or in part.

They today said they had commenced negotiations with unnamed parties for the sale of Arianespace launch contract as well as NewSat's teleport business.

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