More than 30 years of shipping history
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'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 (ex. Western Bulk ASA) in March 2016.
In February 2016, prior to its bankruptcy, Bulk Invest ASA sold its subsidiary Western Bulk Chartering AS to Kistefos Equity Operations AS, a wholly owned subsidiary of Kistefos AS. The sale included the Western Bulk brand name and logo, as well as relevant systems and infrastructure.
Western Bulk Chartering AS 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, and today serves as the parent company of the Western Bulk Group.
After raising more equity in 2016 and 2017, the Western Bulk group is owned by about 240 shareholders, with Kistefos AS controlling about 75% of the shares through two of its wholly owned subsidiaries. In June 2017, Western Bulk was registered on the N-OTC list under the ticker "WEST".
With continuously improved operational performance and market conditions through 2017, the Group has seen a positive development with its margins returning to historical levels, and is entering 2018 with a net profit of USD 4,3mUSD for FY 2017.