The State Department has rejected a bid by GE and Beijing-controlled Citic Grouptogether to take private Asia Satellite Telecommunications, which operates the AsiaSat satellites, The Financial Times reports.
The State Dept. has veto power over the suggested restructuring because of the Cold War-era US International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). State has said it will "not grant the approval necessary to implement the proposed privatisation," according to AST.
“AsiaSat has the approvals it needs for AsiaSat 5 and the construction is going along just fine,” said one person familiar with the situation.
“Under the company’s current shareholder structure everything is fine. But [the] state [department] said: ‘If AsiaSat goes out and changes [its structure], how we approach the company is going to change’.”
GE Capital and Citic each control 34 percent of AsiaSat. The final third is in public hands. The proposed deal would have made AsiaSat a private company with 50-50 ownership.