Avanti in 31.5m fundraising

David Hellier
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AVANTI Communications, the Aim-listed satellite operator, yesterday announced a &pound;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 &pound;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: &ldquo;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.&rdquo; Shares in Avanti closed the day five per cent higher at 259.25p, valuing the group at &pound;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.