Libra Group launches SLI

Posted on 23 June, 2023 by Advance 

Libra Group has launched the world's first space leasing company dedicated to the full spectrum of space assets, building on the Group's 20 years of aviation leasing experience with Space Leasing International (SLI) which will own and lease assets critical to the space economy.

Image courtesy Libra Group

SLI's first investment includes the construction of a ground station in the geo-spatially critical Alaskan Arctic, which is vital for polar orbits that monitor climate change, for lease to Redmond, Washington-based operator RBC Signals. SLI has also committed to acquire or build an additional 20 ground stations around the world within the next three years, which will also be leased to RBC Signals as part of an ongoing business partnership. In the near future, SLI's diversified portfolio of space assets will also expand to large and small assets critical to the space economy, including satellites, spaceports and other space infrastructure.

According to The Space Foundation, today's commercial space industry is experiencing rapid growth, with the space economy projected to exceed $1 trillion by 2040. The European Space Agency highlights that the space sector's development has positive ripple effects on many global industries, such as transport, renewable energy, agriculture and urban development and can aid in monitoring crops, erosion and climate change mitigation. However, the space sector's growth can be limited by the high costs associated with creating and maintaining space assets and limited supply and access to space infrastructure.

By applying Libra Group's proven leasing model used within its aviation and maritime subsidiaries, SLI is positioned to support and accelerate the space industry by bridging the divide between manufacturers and operators of space assets. Currently, there are no lessors dedicated to the full range of space assets. By adding a new role of a wholly-dedicated owner/lessor into the value chain, SLI will support innovation and asset creation while providing non-dilutive capital, which is critical to scaling assets vital to the space economy.

George Logothetis, Executive Chairman of Libra Group, said: "Thanks to far-reaching human ingenuity, our society continues to push the bounds of possibility. The power of space is limitless and is revolutionising how we communicate, navigate, gather information, fight climate change and is beyond what we can imagine." He continued, "SLI is helping to democratise the space economy by investing in building and maintaining a portfolio of space assets that will spark paradigm-shifting technologies and help to test and create market access at scale. This is the next exciting step for our Group, which is committed to advancing innovation, sustainability and social impact while advancing the future in global sectors, including aerospace, maritime and beyond."

Alejandro Kerschen, Chief Executive Officer of SLI, said: "SLI is building out an end-to-end portfolio of space assets available for lease to operators, providing a critical, otherwise missing link between the manufacturer and operator. This helps grow production capacity, strengthens the product to the market value chain, and ultimately spurs critical innovation and development of space assets." He continued, "Building on the strong leasing legacy of Libra Group subsidiaries within other transport sectors, SLI is positioned to unlock the transformational power of leasing to support our customers from across the world to access space. We are pleased to be working with RBC Signals as we launch this exciting initiative."

Christopher Richins, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of RBC Signals said: "By enabling businesses to access high-quality assets used in space, SLI is breaking down barriers to entry and unlocking new opportunities for growth and development. RBC Signals is proud to partner with SLI, and we look forward to a successful long-term relationship as they build a diverse portfolio of space assets. We are also very excited to gain access to the greater and global Libra Group platform as we continue to grow our business around the world."

SLI builds on Libra Group's strong track record within its transport subsidiaries, including aviation and maritime, which have more than 45 years of leasing experience in acquiring and maintaining high-value capital assets across multiple industries. This includes more than $15 billion in international transactions across transportation sectors in the last 15 years.

SLI expands Libra's aerospace sector holdings into space. It also joins the Group's leading aerospace subsidiary, LCI, which upon delivery of pending orders, will have a fleet of approximately 350 helicopters, electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles (eVTOLs), automated drones and fixed-wing planes. Libra's maritime subsidiary, Lomar, has completed close to $2 billion of vessel sales within the shipping sector since 2020.