The history of Western Bulk starts in 1982, when the business was established under the names Western Bulk Shipping and Western Bulk Carriers.
Western Bulk Chartering AS (the "Company"), which is the parent company of the Western Bulk group, was established in 2008 and became a 100% owned sub-holding company of Western Bulk AS (later Western Bulk ASA, and since February 2016 named Bulk Invest ASA) in 2009. Since 2009, Western Bulk Chartering AS has served as the holding company of Western Bulk AS's chartering business.
In February 2016, Bulk Invest ASA sold the Company to Kistefos Equity Operations AS, a wholly owned subsidiary of Kistefos AS. Kistefos AS was the largest shareholder in Bulk Invest ASA (controlling about 60% of the shares) at the time of the transaction. In March 2016, Bulk Invest ASA and most of its remaining subsidiaries filed for bankruptcy.
The sale of Western Bulk Chartering AS included the Western Bulk brand name and logo, as well as relevant systems and infrastructure. Following this transaction, Western Bulk Chartering AS has returned as a privately owned, independent chartering company.
After raising more equity in 2016, the Western Bulk group is owned by about 250 shareholders, with Kistefos AS controlling about 74% of the shares through two of its wholly owned subsidiaries.
More than 30 years of shipping history
Western Bulk's business is conducted through several of its subsidiaries, of which some have a long history. The business was originally established under the names Western Bulk Shipping and Western Bulk Carriers in 1982.
In 1998, Kistefos AS acquired a 23% ownership stake in Western Bulk Shipping ASA and thus became the largest shareholder.
Between 1999 and 2001, Western Bulk Shipping ASA ran into financial difficulties and started a comprehensive restructuring process. The ownership of one of its subsidiaries (Western Bulk Carriers Holding AS) was transferred to its largest shareholders, and Western Bulk Shipping ASA (which was a publicly listed company on the Oslo Stock Exchange from 1993) was delisted from Oslo Stock Exchange during 2001 and taken private by Kistefos AS and one other main shareholder.
From 2003, Kistefos AS initiated a thorough restructuring process of Western Bulk, identifying risk management as a key success factor. As a result, the development of Western Bulk's current risk model began in 2004. During 2006, Kistefos AS became the sole shareholder of Western Bulk AS (which by then was the sole owner of some of the subsidiaries currently owned by the Company), and in the following year a new business model and organizational structure was implemented.
In 2009, Western Bulk AS carried out a corporate restructuring and the Company became the holding company of Western Bulk AS's chartering business.
In 2013, Western Bulk AS became a publicly listed company on Oslo Stock Exchange, and changed its name to Western Bulk ASA. After the listing, Kistefos AS controlled about 60% of the shares up until the bankruptcy of Bulk Invest ASA in March 2016.