Marlink’s new roadmap

Erik Ceuppens2

Apax Partners’ most recent acquisition is set on becoming the undisputed world leading technology-independent broadband satellite communication and digital solutions company. From Marlink’s head office, CEO Erik Ceuppens describes his roadmap.

What innovations are you working on?

We offer our customers best-fit broadband communication and digital solutions so that they can optimally operate in areas not covered by traditional telecom networks, at sea or in remote places on land. Our typical customers are maritime companies or mining and energy customers. Our innovations are focused on enabling those customers’ remote operations for the digital future. They are taking place at 3 levels. First, at the satellite communication level by extending our multi-technology broadband services portfolio. Today we deliver the best maritime VSAT network in the industry in terms of global coverage, capacity and quality. To keep our leading edge, we have introduced higher speed services (> 30mbps) through smaller antennas (60cm) by leveraging capabilities that new High Throughput Satellites (HTS) are providing. Secondly, by continuously evolving XChange, our service delivery platform, we provide customers with reliable monitoring of their communications and their IT network and host applications and content located at their remote sites. Finally, by developing applications together with our technology partners for our open XChange platform, we can improve the efficiency and safety of vessels’ operations (e.g. on-board IT management, cyber security, data collection to optimize fuel consumption and equipment maintenance, etc.) and enhance the well-being of crews working in remote locations (e.g. media content distribution, video-talk, social media, e-learning, telemedicine applications, etc.).

What is changing in the satellite communications sector?

 

The satellite communication market is an excitingly dynamic industry, which is under constant evolution and consolidation and is driven today by an increasing demand for more broadband. The ongoing digitisation of our customers’ businesses (e.g. smart ships or digital oilfields) will continue to significantly ramp up the volumes of data being transferred. On the other hand, ever more satellite capacity is being made available, driven by technology innovations of existing Satellite Network Operators (e.g. HTS) and by the entrance of “new space” players in the market (e.g. OneWeb). These mutually reinforcing trends are creating a very interesting opportunity for our industry. The winners will be companies, like Marlink, that manage to transform this fantastic potential into a competitive advantage for their customers.

Why did you choose Apax Partners as a shareholder?

When Airbus announced its intention to sell Marlink, we sought a new owner capable of developing our company in a very dynamic environment while adhering to our firmly rooted values of customer focus, business agility, entrepreneurial spirit, and our passion for innovation. It quickly became apparent that the new shareholder would need be a private equity firm, ideally with expertise in our special satcom industry niche. I was pleased to get back in touch with Bertrand Pivin and his team, with whom I had already worked for several years to create Vizada, Marlink’s predecessor. By working with Apax Partners, we are confident to be backed by a knowledgeable owner that shares the same ambitious goal to develop Marlink, both organically and through build-ups, into the world leading technology-independent broadband satellite communication and digital solutions company, especially in the maritime industry.

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