Norwegian state-run telco Telenor has announced plans to sell its satellite division to Space Norway, part of the country’s space agency, in a deal worth approximately $216 million. The Norwegian government, which fully owns Space Norway, is seeking parliamentary permission for the capital required to finance the transaction.
The acquisition aims to establish a major Norwegian satellite operator and strengthen Norway as a space nation. It also ensures that the country maintains control over satellites necessary for critical societal functions and strategically important for the nation, particularly in a time of increasing geopolitical unrest.
Telenor Satellite currently operates three geostationary spacecraft – Thor 5, Thor 6, and Thor 7 – and leases capacity from an Intelsat satellite at the same orbital slot. This provides telecom and broadcast coverage across Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa.
Space Norway was established about a decade ago to procure spacecraft for the Arctic Satellite Broadband Mission (ASBM), a two-satellite system aimed at providing connectivity in latitudes beyond the reach of geostationary satellites. The company also operates maritime surveillance spacecraft for the Norwegian Coastal Administration and manages undersea fiber-optic cables.
Dag Stølan, CEO of Space Norway, believes that acquiring Telenor Satellite’s assets will enhance Norway’s global space presence and open doors for new projects. While Telenor will divest its space operations to focus on its core terrestrial communications business, the telco has signed a letter of intent with Space Norway to continue their cooperation on new satellite services.
The combined revenues of Space Norway and Telenor Satellite in 2022 amounted to approximately 1.8 billion Norwegian krone ($165 million), with an order backlog of around 13 billion Norwegian krone. The merged entity is expected to employ around 170 employees.