AVANTI Communications, the Aim-listed satellite operator, yesterday announced a £31.5m share placing as it revealed that its year-end results would beat expectations.<br /><br />The group said the new money will fund the upgrade of the technical hardware for the launch of its HYLAS satellite. <br /><br />HYLAS will be the first superfast broadband satellite to be launched in Europe. <br /><br />Avanti said it would also receive a contribution of £10.7m to the upgrade from the European Space Agency.<br /><br />The group is also in an advanced stage of due diligence regarding a government offer for the provision of low cost debt finance for a second satellite which would provide extra capacity in Europe and elsewhere for launch in 2011.<br /><br />David Williams, chief executive of Avanti commented on the up-take of the shares: “We are delighted with the support received from current investors and to welcome so many new, blue chip institutional shareholders to our share register in this significantly oversubscribed transaction.” Shares in Avanti closed the day five per cent higher at 259.25p, valuing the group at £71.83m. The share placing has been priced at 225p. <br /><br />Avanti has signed agreements with 47 distributors in 11 countries who have already committed to 13 per cent of HYLAS capacity at launch.<br /><br />The HYLAS project is in advanced stages now with payload traffic testing and construction completed.