SpeedCast ‘geared for growth’

Satellite broadband provider SpeedCast acquires SatComms Australia ahead of possible ASX listing.

Satellite broadband provider SpeedCast has acquired SatComms Australia amid rumours the company is preparing for more acquisitions and a possible listing on the Australian Securities Exchange this year.

The multi-million-dollar acquisition was announced as former iiNet chief executive Michael Malone joined SpeedCast as an independent, non-executive director.

The appointment is the Perth-based executive’s first posting since stepping down as chief executive of iiNet in March.

There has been speculation SpeedCast is preparing for a float during the second half of this year.

Mr Malone declined to comment on any potential plans for an initial public offering, but said SpeedCast was “geared for growth” in an industry ripe for acquisitions.

“It’s a fragmented industry out there, so there are lots of opportunity to roll up other companies that are complementary,” he said.

“I’ve been talking about the importance of serving businesses with broadband services for years, and SpeedCast has a great business that sits in that pocket. It is absolutely geared for growth.”

Mr Malone said he was attracted to SpeedCast by the quality of its board, which included the former executive chairman of AsiaSat, Peter Jackson, former Pacific Internet chief executive Bill Barney, and Edward Sippel, the managing principal for TA Associates Asia Pacific, which owns a controlling stake in SpeedCast.

Mr Sippel, who once ran Hong Kong-based private equity firm TVG, has known Mr Malone since 2006.

SpeedCast also appointed John Mackay, the former chairman and chief executive of Transact Communications, as chairman of the board.

“I was actually determined not to take any new roles until about July,” Mr Malone said.

“I was going to take a break and get a feeling for the market but given the people involved it was too good to pass up.”

The highly regarded Mr Malone left iiNet — which he started in the garage his parent’s Perth home more than 20 years ago — amid pressure from the company’s board.

His exit came despite building up iiNet into a $1 billion-a-year nationwide business that today serves a million internet and mobile customers.