Airbus Defence and Space

Airbus Defence and Space purchases majority share in Spot Image

Farnborough, 15 July 2008 - Airbus Defence and Space, Europe’s leading space company, has announced the purchase of further shares in Spot Image from the French Space Agency (CNES). This is a significant deal resulting in Airbus Defence and Space holding 81% of Spot Image and therefore becoming the majority shareholder.


As part of Airbus Defence and Space, Infoterra & Spot Image will work together within the Earth Observation Division of Airbus Defence and Space . This purchase reaffirms Airbus Defence and Space’s commitment to strengthening its presence in the entire Earth observation value chain - satellites, spaceborne & airborne data, ground segment, application solutions and information management & distribution.

With the Earth observation industry undergoing significant change, Airbus Defence and Space’ growth strategy, consistent with AIRBUS Group’ objectives to strengthen its services portfolio, will offer real opportunities for Spot Image and Infoterra. Earth observation services, combined with other components of Airbus Defence and Space (secure telecommunications and navigation), will help create integrated capabilities to address new markets and deliver additional value across the business.

"Taking the majority stake in Spot Image is in line with Airbus Defence and Space’s strategic initiatives to build a strong European group acting internationally,” said Eric Beranger, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space. “Broadly, our objective by bringing together application and service activities, is to significantly develop this business area by demonstrating the benefits that geo-information can bring for monitoring and managing the Earth’s assets. In short, a full range of Earth observation solutions enables leaders to make better decisions about our world”.

Spot Image has achieved commercial success for more than 20 years, delivering satellite-based geographic information and services. This is the longest track record of all satellite operators in the Earth observation industry. As a world leader, Spot Image has continually adapted its products and services to deliver solutions to meet the needs of customers – both public and private – on all continents. Today, users benefit from a wide range of satellite data, receiving & processing infrastructures, and value-added solutions.

“The Earth observation market has shifted in the past years from an industry dominated by a small number of experts to a truly commercial, competitive market serving operational applications.” said Hervé Buchwalter, CEO of Spot Image. “The change to Spot Image’s shareholding will reinforce the company’s ability to launch new programmes underpinned by a PPP logic driven by private investors. So continuing our commitment to support the development of space services and deliver additional benefits to our customers.”

As the exclusive operator of the SPOT optical satellite constellation and strategic partner for other satellites, (the Korean 1 metre KOMPSAT-2, the Taiwanese 2 metre FORMOSAT-2 and others), Spot Image, and its 5 subsidiaries, offer the most comprehensive range of satellite data and services in the market. Spot Image is preparing for the planned launch of the Pleiades constellation (2 agile, 70 cm resolution optical satellites) in 2010 and the development of a high resolution sensor to ensure SPOT 5 service continuity beyond 2012.

Already, Spot Image and Infoterra Group enjoy a privileged relationship through the development of joint products and services in many sectors such as, mapping, security, agriculture and telecommunications. This collaboration has recently been reinforced with the start of Infoterra's commercial business operations for the TerraSAR-X radar satellite, which paves the way for developing and marketing new combined optical-radar offerings.

Spot Image will remain an independent French company with its individual brand and unique long-standing relationships with direct receiving stations, value-added resellers and distributors worldwide.

About Airbus Defence and Space

Airbus Defence and Space, a wholly owned subsidiary of AIRBUS Group, is dedicated to providing civil and defence space systems and services. In 2007, Airbus Defence and Space had a turnover of €3.5 billion and 12,000 employees in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands. Its three main areas of activity are Airbus Defence and Space for launchers and orbital infrastructure, and Airbus Defence and Space for spacecraft and ground segment, and its wholly owned subsidiary Airbus Defence and Space for the development and delivery of satellite services.

About Airbus Defence and Space


Airbus Defence and Space, a wholly owned subsidiary of Airbus Defence and Space, offers a unique ‘one-stop-shop’ in the satellite services market, with unrivalled capability and expertise in secure communications, Earth observation services and navigation services. The European provider of milsatcom services, including the pioneering Skynet 5 service, and a world-leading supplier of geo-information products and services, Airbus Defence and Space meets its customers' requirements with innovative and highly competitive end-to-end solutions

About Infoterra Group


Part of Airbus Defence and Space, the Infoterra Group is a leading provider of geo-information products and services for managing the development, environment and security of our changing world. With companies in France, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom and Hungary, its global customers include international companies, national, regional and local governments and authorities throughout Europe, and organisations such as the European Commission (EC) and the European Space Agency (ESA). Infoterra holds the exclusive commercial exploitation rights for the German radar satellite TerraSAR-X, and plays a leading role in geo-information services within the European GMES initiative of the EC and ESA.

About Spot Image


Spot Image (81% owned by Airbus Defence and Space) is a world leader in the provision of satellite imagery and geo-information value-added services. Spot Image has established subsidiaries in the USA, China, Singapore, Japan and Australia, with a sixth planned for summer 2008 in Brazil. As the commercial operator of the SPOT satellites and provider of imagery from other optical and radar satellites, Spot Image has successfully harnessed a range of space- and ground-based systems to meet customers' needs. The Spot Image group leverages a global network of ground receiving stations, partners and distributors to bring geographic information, products and services to public- and private- sector decision makers worldwide.

About AIRBUS Group


AIRBUS Group is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2007, AIRBUS Group generated revenues of € 39.1 billion and employed a workforce of about 116,000. The Group includes the aircraft manufacturer Airbus, the world's largest helicopter supplier Eurocopter and Airbus Defence and Space, the European leader in space programmes from Ariane to Galileo. Its Defence & Security Division is a provider of comprehensive systems solutions and makes AIRBUS Group the major partner in the Eurofighter consortium as well as a stakeholder in the missile systems provider MBDA. AIRBUS Group also develops the A400M through its Airbus Military.

Press Contacts


For Airbus Defence and Space

Matthieu Duvelleroy FR Tel: +33 (0) 1 77 75 80 32

Jeremy Close UK Tel: +44 (0)1 438 77 3872

Francisco Lechón SP Tel: +34 91 586 37 41

For Infoterra Group

Sarah Haslam UK Tel: +44 116 273 23 79

Nathalie Pisot FR Tel: +33 (0)4 97 23 23 46

Mareike Doepke GER Tel: +49 7545 8 3924

For Spot Image

Jennifer Newlands FR Tel: +33 5 62 19 40 09

Earth ObservationGeo-informationImagery