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April 20, 1994

INMARSAT MEETING TO DEBATE ITS FUTURE

By CBR Staff Writer

At a special meeting of its Assembly planned for the start of next year, the London-based International Maritime Satellite Organisation, Inmarsat, will decide whether it should continue to be run as a co-operative, whether it should transform itself into a conventional public company, or whether it should stay as it is, but spin off its proposed Inmarsat-P global communications service as a separate entity. The Assembly comprises representatives from the governments of Inmarsat’s member countries, and is rarely convened: day-to-day issues are dealt with by its council, which is composed of representatives of its signatories. Inmarsat signalled that a change might be on the cards last October, when it announced that it was bringing L M Ericsson Telefon AB on board as a major partner for Inmarsat-P. However, it seems now as if events may have overtaken the organisation, and progress on Inmarsat-P may now have to wait until the outcome of the Assembly’s meeting. Inmarsat had been due to decide which type of satellite would be used for Inmarsat-P at a council meeting held at the end of February, but since this choice is complicated by wider questions of financing, this decision has now been postponed. A spokesman denied that Inmarsat-P is now effectively on hold, but admitted that many of the issues surrounding it will not be able to be resolved until a decision has been made on Inmarsat’s future status.

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