Nera mulls satellite spin-off

Norwegian telecoms equipment maker Nera is considering a spin-off of its satellite communications business, the group's second largest unit, in a big restructuring, the company said on Wednesday.

Norwegian telecoms equipment maker Nera is considering a spin-off of its satellite communications business, the group's second largest unit, in a big restructuring, the company said on Wednesday.
Danish satellite specialist Thrane & Thrane immediately expressed interest - if the price was right.

Nera Chief Executive Bjørn Ove Skjeie said shifts in Nera's markets meant the board reckoned it was a good time to consider spinning off the satellite division, its number-two division behind Transmission Networks. He said Nera planned to reach a decision in the second half of 2004.

He declined to give details of plans for the transmission networks unit if the company split, but he told Reuters, "We have said that the branch must consolidate."

First-quarter revenues for Nera's mobile satellite communications unit totaled NOK 143 million (USD 21.08 million) of a group total of 515 million. Transmissions networks had revenues of 280 million.

Thrane & Thrane Chief Executive Lars Thrane told Reuters in Copenhagen: "We are always interested in buying - if the price is right. Back then it wasn't, but we have no bad feelings."

A deal for Thrane to acquire the unit fell through in 2001.