Riding on its success, JKN Global Media sets itself ambitious growth targets #SootinClaimon.Com

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https://www.nationthailand.com/business/30404607

Riding on its success, JKN Global Media sets itself ambitious growth targets

CorporateApr 07. 2021

By The Nation

JKN Global Media (JKN) on Monday revealed its strategy to be the number one content and commerce company, aiming to generate Bt5 billion revenue within three years.

JKN’s chief executive officer, Jakkaphong “Anne” Jakrajutatip, said the company was now Asean’s leading content manager and distributer via satellite TV, digital TV and online platforms.

She said the achievement was a result of the board’s expertise and the company’s ‘superstar marketing’ strategy, which enabled the company to choose content that met the customers’ needs.

“Korean, Indian and Filipino series fever has now emerged in Thailand, thanks to our experience in content management and distribution for a long time,” she said.

“As JKN is a content company with high growth potential, the company was listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand on November 12 last year to allow more institutional and retail investors to invest in the company’s share and witness the company’s growth together,” she said.

To promote JKN as a content and commerce company in order to maintain sustainable growth, she said the company had launched health and beauty supplements under Olig Fiber brand, such as V-Allin, Hair Now, Instinct and C-TRIA by Anne JKN.

“To achieve quantum leap in sales, we use ‘superstar marketing’ strategy by hiring celebrities to be presenters of our products,” she said.

“In addition, herbal supplement drinks under Cupid brand, such as Dragon X and Tiger X, are expected to be launched within this month.”

She added that more than 10 food supplements and drinks with hemp extract are currently under development with DOD Biotech.

“We are seeking more partners to develop products with hemp extract in a bid to meet customers’ needs,” she added.

She said JKN has acquired DN Broadcast’s NEW18 digital TV channel whose name will be changed to JKN18 to expand its customer base and boost the growth of its commerce business in line with the new normal era.

“With quality product innovation, JKN18 channel and superstar marketing strategy, we have confidence that our commerce business will enable the company to achieve quantum leap in sales growth,” she added.

JKN’s chief financial officer Teeraphat Petporee said the company had invested Bt1.1 billion to acquire DN Broadcast’s NEW18 digital TV channel.

“After the acquisition, JKN will use knowledge and experience in content business to enhance news content production in order to boost the channel’s rating to become one of the country’s top ten channels,” he said.

He added that JKN is currently restructuring the organisation to boost sales and gross profit margin in the long term.

“The company aims to generate over Bt5 billion revenue within three years. The company’s revenue this year is expected to hit Bt2.5 billion of which Bt2 billion will be from content business and Bt500 million from commerce business,” he added.

BioNTech raises covid vaccine target to 2.5 billion doses #SootinClaimon.Com

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https://www.nationthailand.com/business/30404323

BioNTech raises covid vaccine target to 2.5 billion doses

CorporateMar 31. 2021Pfizer-BioNTech covid-19 vaccines in cold storage in Paris. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Nathan Laine.Pfizer-BioNTech covid-19 vaccines in cold storage in Paris. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Nathan Laine.

By Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg · Naomi Kresge

BioNTech and Pfizer raised this year’s production target for their covid-19 vaccine to as many as 2.5 billion doses, with the biotech’s chief executive predicting a version of the shot that can be stored in refrigerators will be ready within months.

The new target represents an increase of about one quarter from the company’s earlier estimate.

The world’s thirst for more shots has challenged vaccine makers, who had to pivot from a breakneck development pace to ensuring production capacity. Pfizer and BioNTech have repeatedly revised their targets as they scaled up production, largely avoiding the controversies facing other drugmakers such as AstraZeneca.

“We are seeing an increased demand,” CEO Ugur Sahin said in an interview. “At the moment we have prepared ourselves to produce 2.5 billion doses, but in principle there is room for further increase.”

On Tuesday, BioNTech said it’s also pushing forward to address a weakness of its shot — the need for longer-term storage at ultra-cold temperatures. The company said it’s advancing with two new formulations: a ready-to-use vaccine that can be stored at fridge temperatures, and a freeze-dried version that could be stockpiled by governments in the future.

The vaccine, the first cleared in the U.S. and European Union, has catapulted BioNTech into the front ranks of European biotechs, allowing it to generate enough revenue to report its first annual profit.

Sahin and Ozlem Tureci, his wife and co-founder, have said they’ll use the vaccine profits to push forward with research in other areas as well. The messenger RNA technology is being studied for other types of vaccines, including seasonal flu, and could also have applications as a treatment for cancer and other diseases.

“That is the transformative impact of having the Covid-19 vaccine,” Sahin said. He praised the Pfizer collaboration but said BioNTech could work with other big pharmaceutical companies as well — or press forward on its own. “Our priority is really to exploit the full potential of what we can develop.”

BioNTech’s ADRs rose as much as 6.9% in U.S. trading. Pfizer traded 1% lower.

The partners had previously said they could make about 2 billion pandemic shots this year, enough to immunize 1 billion people. Next year, they could have capacity to make 3 billion doses, Sahin said in a March 9 interview.

By early in the second half of this year, the companies should be able to offer a ready-to-use formulation of the vaccine that could be stored at refrigerator temperatures, Sahin said. That would make it much easier for doctors’ offices and pharmacies to store and dispense the shot. The current version requires freezer storage.

The freeze-dried formulation also in the works will require a clinical trial to ensure it’s safe and works as well as the original. That study will start in the U.S. in April, BioNTech said, and should have data by the third quarter. Such a version of the vaccine could be stockpiled by governments and shipped and stored even more easily.

BioNTech said it expects $11.5 billion (9.8 billion euros) in revenue from the supply contracts signed already. Even the people already vaccinated will probably require booster shots, potentially after six to nine months, Sahin said on a conference call.

The company reported 366.9 million euros in fourth-quarter profit and it had 1.2 billion euros in cash at the end of the year. It expects to spend as much as 850 million euros on research and development this year.

More than a dozen patient trials in oncology, including experimental mRNA treatments for melanoma and cancers of the head and neck, breast, kidney and liver are planned. BioNTech is also working on cell therapies and other ways of recruiting the immune system to fight cancer.

Tesla now accepts Bitcoin as payment for cars, Musk Says #SootinClaimon.Com

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https://www.nationthailand.com/business/30404094

Tesla now accepts Bitcoin as payment for cars, Musk Says

CorporateMar 25. 2021

By Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg · Katrina Nicholas

Having stunned the market with its audacious bet on Bitcoin earlier this year, Tesla Inc. will now start accepting the world’s largest electronic currency as payment for its electric cars.

Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk on Wednesday tweeted that “you can now buy a Tesla with Bitcoin” and that paying by Bitcoin will also be available to customers outside the U.S. later this year. He added that Tesla will only use internal and open-source software and that any Bitcoin paid to the company will be retained as Bitcoin and not converted to a fiat currency.

California-based Tesla disclosed its $1.5 billion investment in Bitcoin in February and signaled its intent to begin accepting the cryptocurrency as a form of payment at the time, sending prices to a record. The world’s leading EV maker made the Bitcoin bet after updating its investment policy in January to allow it to buy digital assets.

Tesla’s embrace of the cryptocurrency fuels a debate over whether longer-term investors such as corporate treasurers, family offices and insurers will seek exposure to the digital token. While prominent Wall Street figures have come out in support of Bitcoin, there are big challenges for any companies following suit by adding virtual coins to balance sheets.

“Tesla and other companies are showing that crypto is here to stay, and its mainstream adoption is only going to increase,” said Simon Peters, analyst at investment platform eToro.

In addition to lending increased legitimacy to electronic currencies, Musk’s embrace of Bitcoin fits his maverick image. The billionaire has often tweeted about cryptocurrency-related topics and recently called Bitcoin “a good thing” in an interview. Dogecoin, the once tongue-in-cheek digital currency, also soared to records in February after Musk, rapper Snoop Dogg and Kiss bassist Gene Simmons tweeted about it.

Singha Estate secures exclusive rights for 30 per cent shareholding in three major co-generation power plants #SootinClaimon.Com

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https://www.nationthailand.com/business/30404054

Singha Estate secures exclusive rights for 30 per cent shareholding in three major co-generation power plants

CorporateMar 24. 2021

By The Nation

Almost 70 per cent of power output pre-sold

“We have secured these rights under very attractive terms.  They are an important part of the jigsaw that will make Singha Estate into one of Thailand’s foremost property, power generation, and engineering services companies, while tripling the size of our business in three years.” 

“We want a business that can become huge, combining steady, consistent returns with exciting growth opportunities.  We will leverage the synergies between our four business platforms to give us great competitive strength.” 

— Chutinant Bhirombhakdi, Chairman, Singha Estate PCL

Singha Estate PCL (S), a leading Thai property investment and development company, today, announced that it has secured the exclusive rights to acquire a 30% shareholding in three major co-generation power plants with total capacity of 400 megawatts, at par value, and with a total investment of Bht 1,392 million.

The first of the plants is an operational 123 megawatt (MW) combined cycle co-generation power plant that is owned and operated by Angthong Power Company Limited and located in the ‘World Food Valley’ industrial estate in Ang Thong, Central Thailand.

The second and third plants, each with 140 MW capacity, are greenfield operations that are currently under construction and will enter into service in 2023.  They are also located in the ‘World Food Valley’ industrial estate.  The licences for these power plants are owned by B.Grimm Power (Ratchaburi) 1 Limited and B.Grimm Power (Ratchaburi) 2 Limited.

The three acquisitions are subject to Singha Estate’s shareholders’ approval at its Annual General Meeting on April 23, 2021.

Chutinant Bhirombhakdi, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Singha Estate PCL, said, “We have secured these rights under very attractive terms.  They are an important part of the jigsaw that will make Singha Estate into one of Thailand’s foremost property, power generation, and engineering services companies, while tripling the size of our business to Bt20 billion in revenues in three years.” 

Singha Estate recently announced that 2021 is a transition year for the company in which it is moving into the next phase of its development by embracing businesses that complement its three core property businesses that are comprised of commercial property, residential property, and resorts and hotels.

“We want a business that can become huge, combining steady, consistent returns with exciting growth opportunities.  We will leverage the synergies between our four business platforms to give us great competitive strength,” Bhirombhakdi said.

Thitima Rungkwansiriroj, Chief Executive Officer, Singha Estate PCL, said, “Licences for power generation plants of this size are a very rare commodity, so we are especially pleased to have secured rights to a substantial stake in three important power plants.  They will give us an immediate and sure-footed presence in this sector.”

“Our options are made particularly attractive by the fact that 270 MW, or close to 70 per cent of the combined output of the three power plants, is already pre-sold at guaranteed prices.  This assures us sustainable recurring revenues that will enhance the resilience of our business,” she added.

According to Rungkwansiriroj, Angthong Power is the only power plant in Thailand that is profitable even without the need to sell to independent users and that 75 per cent of its output is taken up through a 25-year power purchase agreement with the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand.  She noted that “the use of advanced technology has reduced costs and further improved the margins of the business beyond initial estimates.”

The three power plants are expected to generate Bt7,500 million in revenues in 2024.

“Apart from the synergy benefits that we foresee from these acquisitions, their returns as stand-alone businesses are also attractive.  We have a draw-down facility with banks so that Singha Estate only needs to put up minimal capital, and at the tail end under a ‘back-end equity’ arrangement,” Rungkwansiriroj said.

Singha Estate has a low net debt-to-equity ratio of 0.96 and access to Bt25 billion in credit facilities.

Cabinet okays Bt350bn aid measure for tourism industry, small businesses hit by Covid #SootinClaimon.Com

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https://www.nationthailand.com/business/30404041

Cabinet okays Bt350bn aid measure for tourism industry, small businesses hit by Covid

CorporateMar 23. 2021Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, Minister of Finance (left) and Supattanapong Punmeechaow, Minister of Energy (right)Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, Minister of Finance (left) and Supattanapong Punmeechaow, Minister of Energy (right)

By The Nation

The Cabinet approved two aid measures proposed by the Finance Ministry on Tuesday, Deputy PM Supattanapong Punmeechaow said.

Under the scheme, Bt250 billion under a revive and restart credit measure for hotel operators and tourism businesses and about Bt100 billion for an “asset warehousing” project to help small businesses.

Under the warehousing project, small business owners can “park” their assets and buy them back over five years. The businesses will be allowed to continue using the property.

The Thai Bankers Association has said it is ready to support both measures to help businesses affected by the Covid-19 fallout to survive as well as help revive the national economy.

Billionaire’s workaday clothing firm becomes a sportswear sensation #SootinClaimon.Com

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https://www.nationthailand.com/business/30404004

Billionaire’s workaday clothing firm becomes a sportswear sensation

CorporateMar 23. 2021A WORKMAN Plus store in Tokyo. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Toru HanaiA WORKMAN Plus store in Tokyo. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Toru Hanai

By Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg · Min Jeong Lee, Yoojung Lee

When it comes to Japanese retail billionaires, the first name that springs to mind might be Tadashi Yanai, the entrepreneur behind the Uniqlo brand and the nation’s richest man.

But there’s another founder who’s drawing attention as one of his biggest companies transforms in the country.

Yoshio Tsuchiya’s Workman Co. has expanded beyond its roots as a maker of drab uniforms for laborers into low-cost, functional sportswear and outdoor gear. The evolution has won praise from investors, analysts and even Fast Retailing Co.’s Yanai, who says the company has created a “new market.” Other observers question whether the positive momentum has reached its limit.

Workman’s shares have more than quadrupled since the start of 2018, despite paring some of their gains recently. That boosted Tsuchiya and his family’s stake in the company alone to about $4.5 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. For one analyst, the retailer has the potential to really take off when the country gets clear of the covid-19 pandemic.

“It’s one of the more exciting stories in Japanese retail” once things get back to normal, said Ruhell Amin, global head of retail equity research at William O’Neil & Co. in London.

Tsuchiya opened Workman’s first store in 1979 when he was in his late 40s. The company specialized in work clothing for construction laborers, a booming business in the country’s bubble economy of the 1980s.

In 2016, Workman moved into low-cost outdoor gear before opening its first WORKMAN Plus store two years later to focus on sports and outdoor clothing. The company had 632 regular stores and 269 WORKMAN Plus shops across Japan as of March 10, often in areas where blue-collar workers live.

One popular product is a waterproof jacket that costs $36 (3,900 yen), much lower than comparable offerings by other companies. A “climb light jacket” from The North Face, for example, retails for about $300 (33,000 yen).

“Because our clothes were originally designed to suit workers, they weren’t inferior to sportswear in functionality, and most importantly, they could be made at cheap prices,” Tetsuo Tsuchiya, a family member and senior managing director at Workman, said in an interview with ITmedia Business Online in January. “We realized that was Workman’s strength.”

Richard Kaye, a portfolio manager at Comgest Asset Management Japan Ltd., which owns Workman shares, said the quality of the company’s products can be better than more expensive brands because of its established supply chain.

The apparel maker boasts “high performance at one-half to one-third the cost of famous brands,” Ryozo Minagawa, a senior analyst at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. in Tokyo, wrote in a November note. It has “no competition” in the cheap sportswear segment, he wrote.

“I want them to keep it up — competition is a source of development,” Fast Retailing’s Yanai told reporters following an earnings release in October when asked about the threat of Workman. “We created a new market and so has Workman,” he said. “The clothes have functionality and I think they’re very good.”

But others, such as Citigroup Inc., say that while Workman has performed strongly in casual wear, growth in the category may be hitting a wall.

“It seems that the boost generated by the expansion of the existing format to include casual wear is reaching its limit,” Citigroup analyst Yingqiu Zhang wrote in a note this month after the company’s same-store sales for February fell 3.7% year on year, the first such decline since September 2017.

A a WORKMAN Plus store in Tokyo. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Toru Hanai

A a WORKMAN Plus store in Tokyo. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Toru Hanai

Workman declined to make any of the company’s executives available for an interview. Beisia Group, which is behind the family’s various businesses, declined to make Yoshio Tsuchiya available for an interview. The 88-year-old entrepreneur, who rarely speaks to media, established a supermarket operator in the late 1950s and built it into a retail empire with Workman as the flagship listed entity.

The conglomerate counts home-center chain Cainz Co., shopping-center operator Beisia Co. and Workman as the largest of its 28 companies, according to a Toyo Keizai report in December. They’re followed by convenience-store operator Save On Corp., consumer-electronics retailer Beisia Denki Co. and car-goods shop Auto R’s Co.

Those six chains account for 90% of the group’s revenue, according to the Toyo Keizai report. In an interview for the article, Tsuchiya said the group’s sales topped 1 trillion yen for the first time in the 12 months ended October.

Tsuchiya and his family may be worth more than $8 billion when its holdings in the other group companies, which are privately held, are also included. That makes them among the richest people in Japan, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. But the family’s gains have grown harder to come by in recent months, with Workman shares losing more than a fifth of their value from a recent high in July.

William O’Neil has removed Workman’s stock from its firm’s “focus” basket in the recent sell-off, but Amin says that’s just because it’s going through a “technical breakdown.”

The company, meanwhile, is set for a new challenge. It plans to open a new category of stores called WORKMAN Girl, which offer casual and outdoor gear for women. It has only one such store and aims to launch 399 more in 10 years.

Over the longer term, Workman’s prospects remain good, according to Amin.

“It’s a great company, well-managed with a clear, unique focus,” he said. “Sales growth has been phenomenal on a month-on-month basis over the past three to four years,” he said. “Clearly they’ve been doing something well.”

Supreme Pharmatech successfully passed US FDA registration #SootinClaimon.Com

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https://www.nationthailand.com/business/30403290

Supreme Pharmatech successfully passed US FDA registration

CorporateMar 04. 2021

By THE NATION

Supreme Pharmatech Co, Ltd., Thailand’s manufacturer of liposomal food supplement products, successfully passed US FDA registration procedure and got US FDA Certificate.

Mrs.Milint Wintrasiri, Chief Executive Officer of Supreme Pharmatech said, that this was an important milestone on the path to opening the American market for liposomal products from Supreme Pharmatech.

Accordingly to the Fortune Business Insights, the volume of American food supplements market is estimated to reach nearly 120 Billion USD by the year 2027. [1]

There are also estimations, that liposomal supplements will show over 300% growth within this decade, while growth of conventional supplements will stay within 5-10% range.

Accordingly to Prof. M.R.Mozafari, the head of R&D Department of Supreme Pharmatech, the US market is rapidly turning towards liposomal ingredients. American market of nutritional products is the biggest in the world, and it is very mature and competitive. American people are well aware about importance of bioavailability of nutritional ingredients and taking this factor very seriously.

The fast spread of liposomal products in all segments of food and drugs market is due to high bioavalability of liposomal ingredients in comparison to conventional ones.

Mrs.Milint Wintrasiri added, that as a first step Supreme Pharmatech plans to introduce to American market liposomal glutathione, liposomal quercetin, liposomal resveratrol, liposomal curcumin and liposomal hesperidin. All five ingredients have great health benefits.

Study published in Clinical Cancer Research journal showed that liposomal quercetin can be used as a potent chemotherapeutic drug [2].

Study published at Journal of Material Chemistry B stated, that liposomal resveratrol had shown anti-breast cancer activity [3].

Another study published at US National Library of Medicine showed, that liposomal curcumin has great growth inhibitory and pro-apoptotic effects on cancer cells [4].

Study published at Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity Journal links citrus bioflavonoids with cardiovascular and metabolic health [5]. Accordingly to this, liposomal hesperidin may play beneficial role in patient with diabetes or cardio diseases.

One more study published at US National Library of Medicine showed, that liposomal glutathione elevates body stores of glutathione and markers of immune function [6].

All five products already passed Thai FDA certification and soon will be available in USA and Thailand. As the second step, Supreme Pharmatech plans to develop a line of liposomal vitamins, which may also be introduced to local and oversea customers.

1. https://www.fortunebusinessinsights.com/dietary-supplements-market-102082

2. https://clincancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/12/10/3193

3. https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2020/tb/c9tb02051a#!divAbstract

4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5573051/

5. https://downloads.hindawi.com/journals/omcl/2019/5484138.pdf

6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6389332/

7. https://supremepharmatech.com

Cabinet extends Nam Phong petroleum concession to Exxon for 10 years #SootinClaimon.Com

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https://www.nationthailand.com/business/30403244

Cabinet extends Nam Phong petroleum concession to Exxon for 10 years

CorporateMar 03. 2021

By The Nation

The Cabinet gave ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Khorat Inc the go-ahead to explore for and produce petroleum in Khon Kaen’s Nam Phong district for another 10 years until 2031.

The contract is from March 16 until March 15, 2031.

Deputy government spokeswoman Traisuree Taisaranakul said the government would benefit to the tune of US$25.04 million (Bt750 million) from the contract.

Anne Jakrajutatip, CEO of Media Content Company (JKN) had generated over Bt10 billion in 2020 #SootinClaimon.Com

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https://www.nationthailand.com/business/30403172

Anne Jakrajutatip, CEO of Media Content Company (JKN) had generated over Bt10 billion in 2020

CorporateMar 01. 2021Jakkaphong “Anne” JakrajutatipJakkaphong “Anne” Jakrajutatip

By The Nation

Thailand’s number one content management and distribution company JKN Global Media generated a profit of over Bt400 million in 2020.

JKN’s revenue was over Bt1.7 billion, up 25 per cent year on year. The company had generated over Bt10 billion in revenue and over Bt1.1 billion in profit in the previous five years.

JKN ‘s chief executive officer, Jakkaphong “Anne” Jakrajutatip, said the rise in the company’s earnings came from their experience in understanding consumer behaviour.

The famous Thai transgender businessperson added that this showed a significant improvement compared to last year.

“Last year, many Thai TV series launched in foreign countries, such as ‘Rakboon’, ‘Ngern Pak Phee’, ‘My Secret Bride’ and ‘My Forever Sunshine’ received good response from viewers,” she said.

“In Thailand, many series from Japan, Korea, USA, India, China and Philippines, such as ‘Dae Jang-geum’, ‘Coffee Prince’, ‘Ju Mong Prince of the Legend’, ‘CSI’, ‘The Walking Dead’ and ‘Buddhaa – The King of Kings’ were popular among Thai people.”

She added that the company had expanded various types of businesses, such as healthcare and beverage to support the company’s strategy as Content Commerce Company.

On top of that, she also gains public interest on her lifestyle with over 12 million followers on her social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook.

Currently, JKN’s asset under management was over Bt10 billion.

ClimaCell, an ambitious private weather firm, plans to launch its own satellites #SootinClaimon.Com

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https://www.nationthailand.com/business/30403032

ClimaCell, an ambitious private weather firm, plans to launch its own satellites

CorporateFeb 25. 2021An artistic rendering of a ClimaCell satellite. MUST CREDIT: ClimaCellAn artistic rendering of a ClimaCell satellite. MUST CREDIT: ClimaCell

By The Washington Post · Andrew Freedman

ClimaCell, a growing private weather company based in Boston whose customers include airlines, maritime shipping firms and everyday consumers, plans to spend $150 million during the next few years to launch its own satellite radar constellation.

The goal, company leaders said in an interview, is to make its own forecasts more reliable, thereby benefiting its clients, the public through its weather app, and policymakers.

This aim contrasts with the business of most, if not all, space companies today that are pursuing weather applications. These firms, such as GeoOptics and Spire, have business models based on selling the data for others to use in forecasting the weather, with customers that include federal agencies. However, ClimaCell would use its own technology, which already includes proprietary weather modeling, to take advantage of the data it gathers from space.

The end result, if all goes well, would be a vertically integrated weather company whose operations range from generating its own data to sifting through that information using computer models and turning that into products aimed at improving how businesses operate.

According to ClimaCell co-founder and chief executive Shimon Elkabetz, ClimaCell has several dozen scientists and engineers now dedicated to developing and eventually deploying a fleet of small space-based weather radars that could gather real-time data of every location on the globe at any time. This would be a major leap forward for radar coverage over data-sparse regions, he said, such as Africa, South America and the oceans.

The satellites would carry a Ka-band radar instrument, Elkabetz said, which he compared to a research mission that NASA has carried out known as the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) satellite.

GPM consists of a dual-frequency radar that allows it to get a three-dimensional view of precipitation falling within a storm, including by seeing the distribution of different droplet sizes within the clouds, according to Dalia Kirschbaum, who heads NASA’s hydrological sciences lab at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

The downside to GPM is that it’s just one satellite. “When you have a single orbiting spacecraft, if you don’t get a good [pass over] a storm, then you just miss it,” she said.

The space agency has also launched small satellites, such as rainCube, which was mounted on the International Space Station, to help solve the challenge of building powerful radars in small boxes, Kirschbaum said.

“The instrument will offer similar capabilities” to the radar aboard GPM, Elkabetz said, “in terms of both resolution and sensitivity, but exceed the swath,” or scan footprint, by a factor of more than two.

To accomplish this, the company is planning to use its own technologies to develop a new radar and antenna. ClimaCell is seeking to lower the costs per satellite by at least half compared to the NASA satellite, which scans a location on Earth only every three days. The cost savings, Elkabetz said, “will allow us to scale this from a single-satellite mission to a constellation of dozens of satellites that enables global coverage with high revisit rates.”

Rei Goffer, co-founder and chief strategy officer at ClimaCell, said revisit times, the interval between instances when the satellite passes over the same location on Earth, would be one hour in the company’s planned satellite constellation.

“We are not going to space just because it’s cool,” Goffer said in an interview, but instead are trying to solve a data gap that could allow the company to make far more accurate forecasts.

Outside experts, such as Brian Weeden of the Secure World Foundation, questioned whether the new satellites would interfere with other spacecraft also operating within the Ka band of spectrum, including planned 5G satellites and other weather satellites already in low Earth orbit.

Elkabetz said he expects to encounter skepticism from those who may not believe that ClimaCell has solved some of the technical challenges in developing and deploying these satellites. If he were not involved in the project already, he wouldn’t believe it, either, he said.

“I respect anyone who thinks it’s difficult, and as we are able to reveal in the future how it works, hopefully people will be able to witness it themselves,” he said in an interview.

Marshall Shepherd, director of the University of Georgia’s atmospheric sciences program, said he sees this project as a way to better predict weather extremes.

“Precipitation is at the heart of many weather-related extremes ranging from flooding to hurricanes, yet is very difficult to measure on global scales,” Shepherd said in an email.

“I am not surprised that scholars are exploring new ways to provide measurements with the accuracy and resolution useful for applications.”

ClimaCell has raised a substantial amount of money for a recent entrant into the weather forecasting business: about $112 million in venture capital funding, with the most recent round closing in July 2020.

Elkabetz noted that most of the world still does not have radar coverage, including in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

“The system’s capabilities will enable new modeling and analytics with precision never before available in the developing world,” he said.

“The data will power applications such as monitoring the conditions favorable for locust reproduction and migrations, as well as conditions that lead to devastating infectious diseases such as malaria, which put millions of lives and livelihoods at risk,” Elkabetz said in a statement.

The satellites could significantly help hurricane forecasts, he said, since they would provide details about the structure and evolution of such storms. The National Hurricane Center has utilized data from the GPM mission and previous weather satellites for forecasting purposes.

The chief engineer for the program is John Springmann, who has worked with private sector space firms including SpaceFlight industries, which launched the BlackSky constellation. The team has also been working with Kerri Cahoy, co-director of the small-satellite center at MIT.

ClimaCell is aiming to launch its first radar satellite in the third quarter of 2022.

Through the company’s nonprofit arm known as ClimaCell.org, the satellite data could flow to areas where improved forecasts are desperately needed, mainly in the developing world, Goffer and Elkabetz said.