Surrey University has sold nearly all their 85% share of their campus based satellite company. This is believed to be the biggest sale of a college owned company ever completed in the UK.
It is thought that EADS Astrium a giant of the European space industry has paid somewhere over £40 million but less than £50 million for University owned Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL).
The university intends to continue to retain a 1% share of the company.
Vice-chancellor Professor Christopher Snowden, stated that: “This is a great move for both the university and SSTL. On completion, this will represent one of the largest cash spinouts from any UK university. And that, “It will also allow the company to realise its full potential as a rapidly growing a leading supplier of small and micro satellites.”
SSTL has been heavily involved in several internationally publicised missions into space over the last decade. Including the launch of several disaster monitoring satellites, which can assist in co-ordinating natural disaster recovery efforts.
Scientists at the University’s Stag Hill College built Giove A, which was the first satellite launched by the European sat-nav project. There are now plans to build a lunar telecommunications network to assist with the proposed colonisation on the moon.
SSTL which operates from Surrey Research Park will continue to be an independent company, while also having access to the considerable resources of a large European corporation.
Astrium, has operations in Spain, France, Holland, Germany and the now the UK and intends to utilise the satellite expertise available at the University.
“SSTL is one of the great success stories of the UK space industry and will be a substantial complement to what we can offer customers around the world,” said Colin Paynter, CEO of Astrium in the UK.