W & J Knox was established 240 years ago to spin flax into thread, and diversified into producing and importing nets for a variety of purposes including aquaculture. Photo: W & J Knox.

Selstad buys salmon farming net supplier W & J Knox

Scottish salmon farming net supplier W & J Knox has sold a majority stake to Norwegian company Selstad AS, the companies announced today.

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Selstad is an international supplier of design, expertise and equipment for aquaculture and commercial fisheries.

“We have known W & J Knox for over 20 years now and consider their value proposition to the aquaculture industry to be very strong,” said the company’s chief executive, Hans Petter Selstad.

“In combining this with Norwegian knowledge and experience, we believe that we will see some very good synergies.”

Hans Petter Selstad: Knox value proposition "very strong".

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Dave Hutchens, managing director of Knox, which is based in Kilbirnie, Ayrshire, said: “We are looking forward to taking this business forward with the management of Selstad, with a view to adding to our portfolio of products as the integration process progresses.”

For both employees and customers, this change in shareholding will be seamless, with the same Knox sales and production staff dealing with all enquiries and logistics, the companies said in a press release.

“In an ever-challenging market, driven by acquisitions and venture capitalists, it is refreshing that effectively two family-run companies are coming together and working with another family-run firm like Garware Technical Fibres in India to provide solutions for our customers into the future,” said Knox commercial director Finlay Oman.

Workforce a priority

The Scottish company’s director and chairman, Jim Traynor, who has spent 42 years at Knox, said: “From day one, the continued secure employment of the workforce has been of prime importance for us in reaching an agreement. I am delighted that Hans Petter has decided to take the company forward along with our ongoing management team.”

Selstad said the strategic acquisition is part of a global group strategy. Last year, the Selstad Group also obtained majority ownership in its Icelandic partner Isfell Ehf, making the Selstad Group amongst the top five suppliers worldwide within its field of expertise.