Kongsberg Defence To Buy Norspace

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PARIS — In an all-Norway transaction, satellite on-board equipment manufacturer Norspace has agreed to be purchased by Norway’s Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace AS after a request for bids in which Kongsberg competed with at least one other prospective buyer, Norspace Chief Executive Sverre Bisgaard said Oct. 21.

Financial details were not disclosed. Norspace, which builds satellite acoustic wave amplifiers, on-board search-and-rescue payloads and tracking and telemetry equipment, expects to report revenue of about 17 million euros ($23 million) in 2011, sharply up from 13 million euros in 2010. The company is building the search-and-rescue systems for Europe’s Galileo satellite constellation, a contract valued at more than 20 million euros.

In an Oct. 21 statement, Kongsberg said the acquisition, which is expected to close by late October, “consolidates space operations in Norway and contributes toward strengthening Kongsberg’s commercial position within international space and surveillance.”

Among Kongsberg’s existing space-related businesses are satellite Earth stations on Svalbard Island in the Arctic, and the Trollsat facility in Antarctica that entered service in 2007. Polar-orbiting satellites fly over one of the two stations every 40 minutes or so.

In an emailed response to questions, Bisgaard said Norspace’s owners initially solicited bids in late 2010 before opening detailed talks with preferred bidders.

Norspace has 95 employees and is owned by six members of its management team. The existing company management will continue to work for the company after it becomes a subsidiary of Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace. Bisgaard said that while Norspace and Kongsberg “will look for synergies to reduce costs and improve our market share,” making Norspace a part of a much larger corporate entity “provides long-term assurance to our customers, suppliers and employees about Norspace’s future.”

Kongsberg has “significant space activities including mechanical and electro-optical components for satellites and launchers, ground station equipment, satellite navigation equipment and satellite services,” Norspace said in a statement.

According to an analysis by Dun & Bradstreet, Norspace reported a pretax operating profit margin of 14.1 percent in 2010.