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Sølvtrans, which operates wellboats in Norway, Scotland, Chile and Australia, has a new owner.
Sølvtrans, which operates wellboats in Norway, Scotland, Chile and Australia, has a new owner.

The world’s biggest wellboat company, Sølvtrans, is to have a new majority share owner. 

Antin Infrastructure Partners, a private equity fund based in London and Paris, will buy the shares from hedge fund Oaktree Capital Management, according to a press release from Sølvtrans.

Sølvtrans has around 300 employees and owns and operates the world’s largest and most modern wellboat fleet, with 21 ships in operation and four more under construction. 

Global operator

The company, based in Ålesund, Norway is the only global wellboat company with operations and interests in salmon farming areas in Norway, Scotland, Chile and Australia.

It is owned by Oaktree and by Sølvtrans chief executive Roger Halsebakk and chairman Anders Hvide. Under the new agreement, Antin will own the majority of Sølvtrans, while Halsebakk and Hvide will maintain their current roles and continue to be significant owners.

Investing in infrastructure

  • Antin Infrastructure Partners was founded in 2007 and focuses solely on investing in infrastructure with the objective of generating attractive risk-adjusted returns for investors through a combination of capital appreciation and cash yield.
  • Since 2007, Antin and its co-investors have deployed circa €5 billion of equity in 22 transactions across three funds.
  • It concentrates on four areas: energy and environment; telecom; transport; social infrastructure.
  • Investments include holdings in Roadchef, the third-largest motorway service operator in the UK, and Euroports, which operates 20 terminals throughout continental Europe.
  • It also has a holding in the CATS system that transports natural gas through a pipeline between the central North Sea and Teesside then processes it on behalf of major producers, and an investment in CityFibre, the UK’s leading alternative provider of wholesale full-fibre network infrastructure.
Roger Halsebakk: Keeps position and investment.
Roger Halsebakk: Keeps position and investment.

The transaction marks a successful sale for Oaktree after Sølvtrans was taken out of stock exchange in 2014 and follows many years of strong growth through both new builds and acquisitions.

Mark Crosbie, managing partner in Antin, said Sølvtrans has all the characteristics Antin looks for.

Well positioned

“The company operates in a market that is exposed to strong macroeconomic forces and is well positioned to benefit from the world’s rapidly increasing consumption of proteins. Sølvtrans, as a world-leading operator in the wellboat market, has a very good market position and has a great potential to grow further,” he said. 

Simon Söder, the partner who heads the investment on behalf of Antin, stated that one of the most important aspects of Sølvtrans is the highly experienced management.

“We are very pleased that Roger Halsebakk and Anders Hvide will reinvest in the company and that they will continue to be significant shareholders together with Antin,” said Söder. “We are looking forward to further investments in the world's leading wellboat company, so that we can continue the growth, as well as providing the best farmers with the best service.”