December 30, 2019 / 12:02 PM / 21 days ago

UPDATE 2-Satellite imagery company Maxar to sell Canadian unit for C$1 bln

(Adds share movement and deal details)

Dec 30 (Reuters) - U.S. satellite imagery company Maxar Technologies Inc said on Monday it would sell its Canadian space robotics business to a consortium led by Northern Private Capital (NPC) for C$1 billion ($765 million), in a bid to ease its debt.

The company's shares were up 16.2% in premarket trading.

Maxar will retain its U.S.-based space robotics division, which is responsible for developing the robotic hardwares used in NASA's Mars 2020 rover.

"This transaction combined with the recently completed sale of real estate in Palo Alto reduces Maxar's overall debt by more than $1 billion," said Chief Financial Officer Biggs Porter. As of September, Maxar had a total debt of $3.1 billion.

The acquisition of MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) will be financed through a combination of equity and debt.

MDA, which has helped construct part of the International Space Station, will operate as a stand-alone company within NPC's portfolio following the transaction.

Reuters first reported in June that Maxar was exploring sale of its space robotics business.

MDA, which started in the basement of a Vancouver home, makes defense and maritime systems, radar geospatial imagery, space robotics, satellite antennas, and communication subsystems.

$1 = 1.3068 Canadian dollars Reporting by Amal S in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and Amy Caren Daniel

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