Australian satellite business exits UK

Australian-based Comet Satellite & Cable has been forced to retreat from the United Kingdom market, leaving 160 employees in its wake.

Australian-based Comet Satellite & Cable has been forced to retreat from the United Kingdom market, leaving 160 employees in its wake.

AUSTRALIA (ZDNet Australia)--“From Comet’s perspective, management has made the hard decision to withdraw the business and absorb the losses so we can focus on our core business in Australia,” Comet managing director Ian Hughes told ZDNet.

Management of the Australian organisation placed the UK joint venture Beresford Swift Communications (BSC) in voluntary liquidation yesterday, absorbing an estimated AU$5 million in losses.

160 employees were made redundant.

Comet Satellite & Cable installs infrastructure for Pay TV operators Foxtel and Austar, as well as Cable & Wireless Optus.

BSC, which was left to operate independently, did not meet its budget targets, according to Hughes.

“Subsequently, Comet deleted existing management and took over the business, agreeing to expand our share hold to 80 percent [from 50 percent] and continue to fund the business,” Hughes said.

The company was to embark on a deal with British Sky Broadcasting (BskyB) to install satellite infrastructure. However, Comet claims the tender document was unsustainable for a business wanting to move forward.

“The UK environment was tougher than expected, we had to withdraw support from the UK operation financially and...the market altogether,” he said.

Hughes explained that the “sheer size” of the UK industry and the difference in business cultures contributed to the operator’s loss.