OneWeb secured a strategic investment of $300 million from South Korean conglomerate Hanwha Group, taking the satellite communications provider’s total funding to $2.7 billion since being rescued from bankruptcy.

Hanwha made the investment for an 8.8 per cent stake in OneWeb through its Hanwha Systems defence division. The funding helps the satellite company with long-term ambitions to tap into the commercial space market.

OneWeb explained in a statement the South Korean company provided further defence capabilities and the latest antenna technologies, as well as boosting relationships with new government customers and providing expanded geographical reach.

Hanwha joins a UK government-led consortium including Bharti Airtel, which helped OneWeb escape from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2020 through a $1 billion rescue package.

Since then, the Bharti group has also exercised an option to invest an additional $500 million. French satellite operator Eutelsat is another major investor, ploughing $550 million into the company.

Second generation
Hanwha’s investment suggests a valuation of about $3.4 billion for OneWeb, reported Financial Times, and people close to the company stated the move could lay the foundations for financing a second generation of more advanced satellites than being currently launched.

To date, OneWeb explained it had launched a fleet of 254 satellites into orbit, still some way off its plans for a total constellation of 648, designed to provide communications services in hard-to-reach areas of the globe.

Sunil Bharti Mittal, founder and chairman of Bharti Enterprises, said Hanhwa was “a powerful partner in our global mission to connect the world”.

The investment is expected to be completed in the first half of 2022.