Group signs deal with Yacht Club Monaco to increase yacht market presence

London, UK-listed maritime satellite services group Inmarsat is having a busy time including rejecting a takeover bid, launching new services to bolster its yacht products range, and signing a new agreement in Monaco.

Inmarsat Plc saw its shares rise by some 14% today following its rejection of a bid from the US satellite company EchoStar late last week. The UK company had been in negotiation with EchoStar about a possible deal but the proposal put forward was described very significantly as undervaluing the company.

No value was linked to the EchoStar offer proposal, but Inmarsat currently had a value of around £2.4bn prior to the bid rejection. Inmarsat was formed in 1979 and played a major role in improving communications for ships and yachts with its satellite communication services. The London market’s view is that this could just be the start of a bidding war for the company.

In a bid to strengthen its services to the yacht market, Inmarsat and its regional partner, SSI-Monaco, signed a strategic agreement last week with the Yacht Club de Monaco (YCM) to provide Inmarsat services for superyachts in the region. The agreement was signed by Bernard d’Alessandri, general secretary of YCM, SSI-Monaco president and CEO Dr Ilhami Aygun, and Rob Myers, Inmarsat’s senior director, Large Yacht & Passenger.

Aygun said: “This cooperation will enable the superyachts of Monaco to benefit from the truly great performance of Inmarsat’s new Fleet Xpress service. Together with the YCM, we are defining tomorrow’s standards for maritime communications; making Monaco ‘The Capital of Yachting’.”

Under the deal, YCM will also provide SSI-Monaco and Inmarsat with access to its La Belle Classe Academy to provide captains, teams and members with specialist training and presentations on the future of satellite communications, systems and cyber security. In addition to running training courses at YCM during the year, SSI-Monaco and Inmarsat have also been appointed as the official supplier of simulator and Inmarsat software to YCM’s La Belle Classe Academy.

Myers commented: “We are delighted to work in collaboration with SSI-Monaco on this strategic agreement with YCM, which will help us to provide a global and secure service for the Monaco superyacht cluster.”

Inmarsat’s recent in-depth survey of connectivity on superyachts plus a series of round table events with superyacht skippers and operators in Europe and USA, Inmarsat is developing its Fleet Xpress services with the flexibility required to meet the specific superyacht requirements.

To continue this feedback, YCM will create a steering committee of captains to provide to SSI-Monaco and Inmarsat information on the global use of satellite communications, assisting in the continuing evolution of Inmarsat products for superyachts.

The Fleet Xpress service is described in Inmarsat promotional material as taking “maritime communications to the next level delivering the data speeds enabled by Inmarsat’s Global Express Ka-band technology, combined with the proven reliability of its flagship FleetBroadBand L-band service”.

The service is provided by three satellites covering the earth providing continuous connectivity on the unlimited L-band width, a guaranteed performance and controlled costs among a number of key features of the service.

At the annual Monaco Yachting Cluster Monaco Rendezvous, Myers in a presentation about Inmarsat services also spoke of the new Fleet Secure which will be introduced later this year. This service is described as ‘powering cyber resilence at sea’ and it will be provided in association with Singtel and Trustwave.

This new offering along with Fleet Xpress is about Inmarsat supplying the market, both commercial marine and yachts, with a portfolio of security services to combat the cyber threat. This pack is based around giving clients awareness and training, end point and network security, consultancy and compliance and mitigation.

Fleet Secure will be integrated with Fleet Xpress and provide 24/7 network protection, cyber risk visibility and the band width cost will be unaffected.