NetTest sold off for just 1 krone

NetTest, the Great Nordic Group subsidiary, has been sold to a consortium led by Danish investment firm Axcel Industri Investor.

The market valuation was set at just DKR1 on a debt-free basis after GN had capitalised NetTest with DKR155m (USD1= DKR7.087). GN expects to incur net costs of up to DKR100m to cover restructuring.

The "new" NetTest, says Axcel, will divest activities within development and sales of equipment to manufacturers of fibre and cables.

GN said that NetTest's Optical Production and Laboratory (OPL) division in Beaverton, Oregon, which makes test gear for manufacturers of optical components including DWDM devices, has been sold in a management buy-out.

New company Photon Kinetics (PK) was established following the management buyout on 31 December 2002.

NetTest has therefore decided to re-focus on the two business areas that were at its core until the late 1990s: monitoring systems and instruments for networks.

Axcel's managing director Christian Frigast said, "One of our roles is to contribute to the adjustment processes within companies. This is what we are putting into practice in NetTest, in which the core activities, instruments and systems will continue.

The Systems business will be based at NetTest's head office in Brøndby, Denmark; the Instruments business will be based in Utica, New York. Both are due for further investment, the company has said.

NetTest's future management will be made up of externally recruited, experienced managers from telecoms and other industries, together with managers from the present NetTest. Kaj Juul-Pedersen, who for a number of years has held executive positions at Ericsson and Telia, will bechairman. Allan J Vestergaard, who managed the sale of telecoms company Cocom to Cisco Systems, will be managing director.

The new company will have about 400 staff, compared to its current 700 (1500 a year ago). NetTest's 2001 revenues were DKR2.32bn but Axcel is aiming for a new breakeven of DKR600m — and profitability in 2003.

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