The decade-old controversy between Antrix, the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and its client Davas Multimedia Pvt. Ltd has come to an end with the International Tribunal awarding the latter a damage of $672 Million, which will prove costlier than expected for the space agency which is known for its budget-savy payloads to space including MOM last year.
Devas sought $1.6 billion in damages for cancelling the contract in 2011 citing the national security and went ahead with the project bearing the cost on its own.
The Bangalore-based space technology firm said it was “pleased that the ICC Tribunal unanimously ruled in its favor and found that Antrix is liable for unlawfully terminating the Devas-Antrix Agreement in February 2011.”
Devas also hoped that Antrix “will now live up to its legal obligations and pay the award so that this dispute that arose during the prior government can be brought to a swift close.”
The award stipulates that Antrix is also liable to pay a post-award simple interest at 18% per annum (on $672 million) till the full award is paid, which means $336,000 per day. It means virtual erosion of almost four years of profit that Antrix has recorded. It may force the space agency ISRO to increase its cost calculations and charge more from its clients in the future.
ISRO’s commercial arm Antrix Corporation Limited has been generating commercial income and in the last five years its turnover never crossed $2 billion as the table shows below in rupee terms.
(Rs in crores)
Incorporated as a private limited company, by the Indian government in September 1992, Antrix was in news over the Devas scam earlier.
Among its satellite launches, Kitsat (Korea), Tubsat (DLR – Germany), BIRD (DLR – Germany), PROBA (Verhaert, Belgium) aboard the ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) are some. It also provides many IOT / TTC support services to International Space Agencies for customers such as World Space PANAMSAT, GE Americom, AFRISTAT etc.
It had launched TecSar for Israel and two satellites for France and Japan in 2012 followed by French SPOT 7 satellite on 30 June 2014 and 5 satellites for UK-based SSTL to launch their 3 DMC3 satellites just recently.