Space42 to drive business and tech advancement, top official says

The new entity created through the merger of Abu Dhabi companies Bayanat and Yahsat aims to unlock global growth opportunities

Yahsat provides satellite services in more than 150 countries. Khushnum Bhandari / The National
Powered by automated translation

Artificial intelligence-powered space technology company Space42 is set to expand business and drive technological innovation as it looks to unlock new global opportunities, its managing director designate Karim Sabbagh has said.

The new entity, created through the merger of Bayanat and Yahsat, will also facilitate the democratisation of space technology globally, Mr Sabbagh told Bloomberg TV in an interview.

“We are clear about our ambitions … [and] approach our ventures in space with the mindset that no one has a monopoly in space … there is a lot of room in space for every nation to do formidable work.”

The new company will also strengthen the UAE’s position in space technology and ensure that the country has strong capabilities in space for civilian as well as commercial applications, Mr Sabbagh said.

Shareholders approved the merger of Abu Dhabi-headquartered Bayanat, a geospatial data products and services provider, and satellite services company Al Yah Satellite Communications – better known as Yahsat – on Thursday.

The merged entity will provide services and solutions including AI-powered geospatial and mobility solutions, Earth observation, satellite communications, and IoT (Internet of Things) and business intelligence.

Initially proposed in December, the merger is expected to become effective by mid-2024. Both companies will continue to operate independently until the deal that is subject to regulatory approvals in the UAE and internationally is concluded, Yahsat said.

Mr Sabbagh said the merger brings forth the “best of both worlds”.

“On the one hand, you are bringing a very stable base with proven technologies, with a lot of legacy on the side of satellite communication. Then you are merging this high-growth business … [with] geospatial analytics with Bayanat,” he added.

The global space economy is also booming. Its total value could be worth $1.8 trillion by 2035, up from $630 billion last year, almost twice the rate of global economy growth, according reports by the World Economic Forum.

Bayanat, which is majority owned by AI and cloud group G42, offers national-level mapping and geospatial products and services.

While Yahsat is a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi’s sovereign investment arm Mubadala Investment Company. It provides satellite services in more than 150 countries across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, South America, Asia and the Australasia region.

The new company aims to lead efforts to realise the objectives of the country's National Space Strategy 2030 and the National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence 2031, said Mansoor Al Mansoori, chairman designate of Space42.

It will “cultivate an AI-powered ecosystem that will further transform the sectors”, he added.

Both Bayanat and Yahsat are listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange and the merged entity offers a significant potential for growth, both regionally and globally, and is expected to become one of the world's most valuable publicly listed space companies, Yahsat said in a bourse filing.

With a combined revenue of Dh2.8 billion ($762 million) and net income of Dh639 million based on the 2023 financial results, Space42 is well positioned to bring increased value to all stakeholders, it added.

Updated: April 26, 2024, 6:08 PM