Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP has advised the Azerbaijan government on a deal to launch the country's first ever communications satellite. The contract was awarded to Arianespace the world's leading satellite launch service provider. Arianespace will supply the Ariane 5ECA launch vehicle for the satellite.
Production of the satellite by the USA's Orbital Sciences Corporation has already begun, with the launch expected in late 2012 from the Arianespace space centre in French Guiana. The satellite will occupy Malaysia's orbital position which has been leased by Azerbaijan as part of a joint venture with the Malaysian satellite operator MEASAT.
This deal was led by Fieldfisher communications and technology partner John Worthy, who joined the firm in July 2010 from Denton Wilde Sapte. John has been working with the Azerbaijan Ministry of Communication and Information Technologies as external counsel to the project for the last 18 months and this is the latest contract in the project, following on from the joint venture with MEASAT and the satellite procurement agreement with Orbital Sciences.
Fieldfisher has a market-leading telecommunications and satellite practice with clients that include Orange, Zone Media and Chellomedia. The deal also reflects the firm’s success in the CIS region and closely follows on from two major deals for Kazakh oil and gas producer KazMunaiGas.
John Worthy said: "I have been working on this unique and fascinating transaction for the last year and a half and I am delighted to have been able to continue the project here at Fieldfisher. The whole project is a core part of the development of Azerbaijan's communications infrastructure and builds on the strong economic progress in the country over recent years. Our involvement reflects the strength of the firm’s expertise in the satellite and communications sector."
Arianespace was advised by in-house counsel.
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John Worthy has advised on satellite and space projects for over 18 years and has advised many of the major players in the sector on satellite manufacture, launch and operation and regulatory and financing issues. He is acknowledged by clients as a leading adviser in this sector, with recognition such as "a key player for communications and technology matters" (Legal 500) and "recommended for his satellite-related expertise" (Legal 500).
John won the UK telecom lawyer award in the International Law Office Client Choice awards 2010, based on recommendations from in-house counsel.
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