Investment manager Downing exits satellite earth station business following £5m investment

Investment manager Downing LLP today announces the successful exit by its funds from a Cornwall-based satellite station site, managed by Goonhilly Earth Station Limited.

Downing has worked closely with Goonhilly since early 2014, investing some £5 million through its Venture Capital Trust (VCT) funds, to allow the business to acquire its historic Cornwall-based satellite earth station and undertake an investment programme to expand capacity for its telemetry and communications services.

The Goonhilly business provides satellite command and control services to a number of satellite operators. Since Downing’s investment, Goonhilly has gone on to sign a £8.4 million deal with UK and European Space Agencies to deliver deep-space communications that will be able to support future missions to the Moon and Mars.

The business has also signed a further collaboration agreement with the European Space Agency and Surrey Satellite Technology Limted to provide support for commercial lunar missions.

The Cornwall area itself is also considered a centre for excellence in the UK’s space and aerospace industries and it is currently bidding to be selected as Europe’s first spaceport.

A new investor, Peter Hargreaves, one of the founders of the quoted financial services firm, Hargreaves Lansdown, has now agreed to provide a substantial investment as the company embarks on the next stage of its journey, and is also acquiring Downing’s stake, delivering a healthy return to the Downing VCTs.

Jonathan Boss, Partner and Head of Lending at Downing LLP, commented:

"The commercial space sector is a burgeoning market and helping facilitate the important role that Goonhilly has played as part of this has been a fascinating and very worthwhile journey for our investors. I wish the team every success as they continue to take a leading role in the UK’s ambitions to participate in both scientific and commercial space missions.”

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Jean Birrell, Downing LLP