Tuesday 14 November 2023

Norwegian Broadcast Provider Sells Itself out of Belgium

Norkring's transmitter network sold for a surprisingly low price.

The investment company Cordiant Digital Infrastructure, based in the tax haven of Guernsey, takes over the company Norkring België, from Telenor (75%) and Participatiemaatschappij Vlaanderen (25%) for 5.25 million euros according to RadioWereld.nl.

Norkring Belgium was founded in 2008 through the privatization of the transmitter park and transmission towers of the public broadcaster VRT. In total, Norkring Belgium owns 25 communication and broadcasting masts, including the large mast in Sint-Pieters-Leeuw near Brussels, the tallest structure in Belgium at 325 meters. In addition, Norkring also operates he two national commercial DAB+ networks. Norkring also owns a digital terrestrial network in Flanders.

It is striking that Cordiant only paid 5.25 million euros for Norkring Belgium, RadioWereld.nl believes. In 2008 public broadcaster VRT sold 49% of the shares in its channel park to Norkring Telenor for 9.8 million euros. A year later, the remaining 51% was sold to Telenor and Participatie-maatschappij Vlaanderen. The infrastructure was then valued at around 20 million euros. At the time, the company also operated the FM and DAB+ networks of VRT.

Norkring established itself in Belgium in connection with its close involvement in the project to push a transition from FM to DAB in Norway. There were plans to expand in Europe with DAB+ Together with WorldDAB the company was reported to closely lobbying in the European Parliament. In Norway the company was a subsidiary of government-controlled Telenor until the transition from FM to DAB+ for the national radio networks in Norway.  

Today the operation of terrestrial transmitter systems in Norway is a minor division of Telenor.

Probably the telecom giant does not envisage a bright business in terrestrial broadcasting for radio and television as FM, DAB+ or DVB-T2.

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