Selstad: ‘Our strategy is built on market presence’

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The Norwegian supplier group, Selstad, is set to grow its farming services.

A two-digit number of net bags are stacked in piles in Selstad’s large storehouse. Each of them is at least 100 meters in circumference, with varying depths. They carry small labels with company names such as Nordlaks, Steinvik and Midt-Norsk Havbruk.

We can hear the sound of the remote-controlled coils hanging at ceiling-height. These go on shims, and raise and lower the nets, almost like the reel on a fishing rod.

”Here we check, test, and repair if necessary. We certify, and, eventually, impregnate the nets. They are supposed to be as good as new when they leave us. There are strict requirements for the condition they should be in,” Hans Petter Selstad tells SalmonBusiness.

He is the managing director of the company which carries his family’s name in their hometown, Måløy – a small town on the Norwegian west coast with just over 3,000 inhabitants.

Free space
Last year, Selstad built a new facility in a local industrial park, and moved all their production and maintenance of farming equipment there.

“That has released space for fishing gear in Moldøen. That investment has increased our capacity in production of both farming equipment and fishing gear. Our goal was to build the world’s most modern service facility. That will always be a subjective assessment, but we think we have managed that,” he continues.

The nearest neighbor for Selstad is the Pelagia Group’s freezer container at Trollebø. CREDIT: Aslak Berge

On the dock just outside, we can feel the northwestern breeze coming in from Stad. This year’s first autumn storm came early, but the company’s location, near the ocean, was key for a business that started out with fisheries.

“This is a family company, and I am the second generation. We started out in Måløy in 1953. At that time, it was all about fishing gear. From the mid-80’s, fish farming grew so much it became natural for us to develop the company in that direction,” Selstad tells SalmonBusiness.

Service
“Our primary services are net bags and mooring systems, service and engineering, as well as the software we call «Selstad-loggen» (the Selstad log). We are now launching lice skirts and shells for cleaner fish,” he continues.

“The material in the nets varies from nylon to polyethylene. Polyethylene is a more stable material than nylon, and gives better fit and good durability when it comes to the rinse rig,” he explains.

Are you considering becoming a total supplier of complete fish farms, feed fleets and feed systems?

Selstad responds: ”We are not considering entering the fleet. At this time, it is more relevant finding strategic partners we can provide complete packages with.”

Multinational
Their sale is divided 50/50 between fishery and farming. The same applies to the sales distribution between Norway and abroad.

“Abroad, we are mainly selling fishing gear. We have a sister company in Iceland, and another in South Africa. We also have a daughter company in Denmark as well as a sales office in Vladivostok (Russia) and Pusan (South Korea). In Iceland, we are present through Isfell, of which we own 43 percent. That is an independent company, strongly present on the supply market – within a growing Icelandic aquaculture industry.”

“When it comes to farming, distribution and service is important. We have a fully integrated service center here in Måløy, and we have service facilities in Solund, Svolvær, while we will start a new one in Uskedalen in Sunnhordland next month. Our strategy is hugely built on presence in the market,” he continues.

Will you invest more in farming service abroad?

“We’re looking at many different things, but there are no concrete plans for salmon abroad, no.”

Selstad has 140 employees, and had a turnover of €33 million last year.

“If we count with the associated companies, we had a turnover of almost €65 million,” Selstad says.