Gemma Bastida I Málaga, (EFE).- The Open Cosmos company, dedicated to the design, manufacture and maintenance of space satellites, plans to double its turnover this year and is analyzing possible acquisitions to boost its growth, taking advantage of the tailwind of sector that “goes like a rocket”.
Created in 2015, Open Cosmos has been the company chosen by the Junta de Andalucía to launch its first satellite into space this year, which will collect and monitor agricultural data from the region, and is also responsible for putting the two nanosatellites into orbit with which The Generalitat of Catalonia already counts, baptized as ‘Menut’ and ‘Enxaneta’.
In an interview with EFE, the founder and CEO of the firm, Rafael Jordà, assures that this industry is experiencing a “very sweet” moment and encourages companies in the sector to “take advantage of it”, especially now that the Government has promoted the Project Strategic Plan for Aerospace Economic Recovery and Transformation (PERTE), which plans to mobilize close to 4,500 million euros between 2021 and 2025, half of them from the public sector.
“The space sector, especially in Spain, has an extremely promising future if we don’t make mistakes and believe in ourselves as an industry and as a country. I frankly believe that this is unstoppable, we don’t have to go with any complexes ”, underlines this aerospace engineer of Mallorcan origin, who in just eight years has made his company a benchmark in Europe.
Revenue doubles year after year
Open Cosmos, which works with public administrations, but also with companies and international organizations, such as the European Space Agency (ESA), registers a positive ebitda (gross operating profit) “for years” and has been doubling its growth year after year.
In 2022, the firm won contracts valued at 35 million euros, compared to 14 the previous year, and billing, given that payments are made deferred, stood at around 8.5 million euros, practically double that in 2021.
For this 2023, the company sees “more than feasible” to maintain this growth trend and double the recruitment and income figures again. “I think that we can still double or even a little more because the contracts that we close now are greater,” says Jordà.
Growing interest from companies and investors
The founder of Open Cosmos acknowledges that the company has great potential to continue growing and that this is attracting the attention of many investors interested in “positioning themselves” in the company, which already in 2017 closed an investment round of more than 6.5 million of euros.
Although at the moment he does not plan to launch a new round of financing, since the company has the capacity to grow with its own resources, Jordà points out that “you should never say no to anything”, as long as it helps the group to have “a more competitive position.
“If a good investment offer comes along, we are interested in considering it,” says Rafael Jordà, who also admits that “several companies” in the aerospace industry have approached him to assess their acquisition, an option that he is also studying, as long as there are “good synergies.” and help boost the business.
“I think there may be good opportunities, we are probing the market to grow in this sense, in an inorganic way”, highlights the young businessman.
International expansion plan
Although the company is headquartered in the United Kingdom, where it was initially established for commercial reasons, it also has a center in Barcelona where around fifteen professionals work, a fifth of the firm’s total staff, made up of around 70 people. .
In addition, the company has a small center in Cádiz linked to electronics that it wants to “give a tour of” and will soon open new facilities in Portugal.
In the midst of the expansion process, the objective of Open Cosmos is to grow “in all places where there is a business opportunity and a good technological base”, with an eye especially on two markets: Asia and Latin America. “There are no borders to grow”, highlights Jordà.
The first Andalusian satellite
For now, the manager is “very excited” about the project for the first Andalusian satellite, which will serve to collect and monitor crucial agricultural and environmental data for this community.
This satellite, says Jordà, is “very special” and different from those placed in orbit by Catalonia, since it combines a terrestrial observation camera with an IoT (Internet of Things) transceiver that will allow communication with sensors on the ground that carry out activities such as control soil moisture or decide the water content of crops.
“What’s new here is this complementarity between the image and the terrestrial data (…). It’s like combining the Menut and the Enxaneta in a single satellite”, remarks Jordà.
The satellite, the size of a microwave and about ten kilos in weight, will be launched into space this year at an altitude of about 560 kilometers, about 100 kilometers above the International Space Station, and will circle the Earth every two hours.
The artifact has passed critical design review and is now in the assembly and testing phase. If all goes well, the launch will take place this year – from a location yet to be determined – and at the end of the year or at the beginning of 2024 it could already provide the Board with the first data and images. EFE