Roger Halsebakk saw reduced profits for Sølvtrans last year but the company remains on an even keel. Photo:

Wellboat giant’s profits dented by delays

Sølvtrans, the world’s largest wellboat company for the transport of live salmon and trout, is still doing well financially, although delays in new vessel deliveries affected its result in 2019.

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The Norwegian company had a turnover of NOK 708 million in 2019, compared with NOK 814m in 2018. This is a reduction of NOK 106 million. 

Operating profit was NOK 270m, a reduction of NOK 118m compared with the NOK 388m the year before. The operating profit margin in 2019 was 9%, compared to 31% in 2018.

The equity ratio at the end of 2019 was 17.43% compared to 38% the year before.

The Ronja Storm arriving in Tasmania. The vessel was delivered to Sølvtrans seven months late. Click on image to enlarge. Photo: Huon Aquaculture.

Good turnover

Sølvtrans founder and chief executive Roger Halsebakk told Fish Farming Expert’s Norwegian sister site,, that the company had a good 2019 and a good turnover.

“But we are characterised by the fact that several of our new build vessels were delivered late in relation to the plan. Ronja Storm (the world’s biggest wellboat) was probably seven months late from Havyard,” he said.

Halsebakk added that 2020 so far looks good for the company, and that it has a large construction programme with a lot of investment.

Three new vessels in 2019

During 2019, the company took delivery of three new vessels, Ronja Explorer, with a well capacity of 2,500m³, Ronjafisk (2,500m³) and Ronja Storm (7,450m³), all of which have entered into long-term contracts with various fish farming companies. The Ronja Storm is with Huon Aquaculture in Tasmania.

The wholly owned subsidiary Sølvtrans Rederi AS had five vessels under construction at the end of the year.

In January 2020, the company entered into an agreement for the delivery of a new 3,000m³ vessel with Myklebust Verft. The vessel is scheduled to be delivered in 2022. The new wellboat will be 87.1 metres long and 18.0m wide.

The Ronja Skye was sold last year.

19 wellboats

The vessel Ronja Skye was also sold by the shipping company in January 2020. 

Sølvtrans’ fleet consists of 19 modern wellboats that work for various fish farming companies in Norway, Scotland, Chile and Tasmania. 

The company is a leader in the use of closed technology, a system that limits the risk of spreading diseases.

‘Continued demand’

The directors write in the annual report that they are positive about the future prospects for the wellboat market, especially for larger and more efficient wellboats with closed technology.

“The board expects a continued increase in demand for wellboat services as a result of production growth, longer shipping distances, changes in the use of wellboats, and regulatory changes,” the report states.

The board has set aside all of the year’s operating profit, in addition to transferring NOK 324m from other equity, to pay a dividend of NOK 594m.