Inmarsat to take stake in tracking co SkyWave

LONDON (Reuters) - British satellite communications firm Inmarsat ISA.L said on Wednesday it had agreed to buy a stake in Canada's SkyWave Mobile Communications in order to move into the satellite low data rate (SLDR) tracking market.

The investment, which will see Inmarsat take a 19 percent stake in the Canadian company, is dependent on SkyWave buying SLDR products and service assets from TransCore, a unit of Roper Industries ROP.N.

Inmarsat, which owns 11 satellites providing mobile phone and broadband coverage around the world, said it would also supply satellite capacity to SkyWave on a global basis.

Inmarsat said the deal, which is subject to SkyWave getting regulatory approval to buy the TransCore assets, would allow it to enter the SLDR market, which includes tracking containers on ships, trucks and trains.

“We estimate that the SLDR market is worth $600 million (416.8 million pounds) today in end-user revenue and has significant growth potential,” Inmarsat’s Chief Operating Officer Perry Melton said in a statement.

“This investment and partnership with SkyWave fits our strategic commitment to pursue opportunities that leverage our satellite network assets.”

The value of the planned investment in privately owned SkyWave was not disclosed.

Inmarsat's shares were down 2.9 percent at 3:51 p.m., underperforming the FTSE 100 .FTSE index of leading British shares, which was 1 percent higher.

Editing by Elaine Hardcastle