Sølvtrans Chile contested ownership: “Pure fiction,” says lawyer

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SalmonBusiness article prompts strong reaction in Chile.

Last week in an article SalmonBusiness referred to Sølvtrans’s ownership of the company’s subsidiary in Chile. “Sølvtrans, which [Roger] Halsebakk has single-handedly built from the ground up, has a fleet of 19 wholly-owned wellboats, in addition to five part-owned vessels through a 48 per-cent owned company in Chile,” it was reported.

This prompted Santiago-based lawyer Enrique Alcalde to react.

Fiction
“This percentage given by the Halsebakk family is pure fiction, designed to look as if the law is being followed in Chile. In our country, cabotage services can only be supplied of companies controlled by citizens,” Alcalde wrote in an email to SalmonBusiness.

Cabotage, in shipping terms, is the transport between places in a country other than where the vessel belongs.

According to Sølvtrans, the majority stake in the subsidiary is controlled by Sølvtrans Chile’s CEO Victor Vargas Vega.

“Ronja Atlantic”, built in 2009, now sails in Chile. The Sølvtrans logo is clearly shown on the vessel. Photo: Sølvtrans

Constructed
“A recently judicial resolution clearly established that Solvtrans continues to control its Chilean subsidiary through a simulated agreement, when, in fact, it owns 99 per-cent of it. This was established in a court ruling issued on September 11. The court decision established that the contract between Solvtrans AS and its Chilean manager, where the first supposedly transferred to the second a majority percentage of the property, it is simulated and so it is null and void,” writes Alcalde, who represented Sølvtrans’ rival, the wellboat shipping company Naviera Orca, in this litigation.

“As part of this resolution, Solvtrans AS and Mr. Víctor Vargas Vega (its Chilean associate) must pay to Naviera Orca a total of USD 4,638,475, for the damages caused by their simulated actions,” Alcalde added.

Sølvtrans’s senior management has been presented with Alcalde’s criticism. Halsebakk told SalmonBusiness that he doesn’t have any comment to add to this article.