| |

Þórsberg ehf.

Company Fact File:

 

Company address: Strandgata 25, 460 Tálknafjörður 

Tel.: +354 450 2700

Fax: +354 456 2753

Email: ari@thorsberg.is

Website: www.thorsberg.is

Number of employees: 70 (60 full-time)

Director: Guðjón Indríðason

Vessels:  Four vessels owned, one vessel leased

Species: Cod, haddock, catfish

Company capital stock: 32 million ISK

Last year turnover: 1,200 million ISK

 

Mission statement: 

To produce quality products from quality fish, and to maintain this quality throughout the distribution phase. Our goal is to complete the processing within one day of catch.

 

History: 

The company was established in 1975 by Magnús Guðmundsson and his family. Magnús’s son-in-law, Guðjón Indriðason, is now the primary owner. Þórsberg started with only one boat and a goal to produce salt fish. The company has since increased its production due to increased market interests, and now owns substantially more vessels and capital.

 

Main export market:

In terms of total fish consumption, Italy represents the largest customer base. They, along with Spain and Greece, have the largest markets for salted cod products. Belgium, France, and the UK are the largest markets for fresh fish products.

 

Products:

Cod, haddock, and catfish are the main species being processed. Other species include tusk and ling, depending on supply. Blue ling was processed for the first time this summer. The main finished products are salted cod and fresh and frozen loins. 

 

Future possible market:

The company is working at full capacity. At the moment Þórsberg uses 100% of its quota. In order to expand and increase production it would need access to more raw materials.

 

Aquaculture:

Company owners have operated a cod fish farm for the past 20 years. However, fish farming in the southern Westfjords has incurred increasing costs. Therefore, due to increasing expenses and decreasing profits, plans for closing down the farm operations are underway.

 

Quality control:

The company incorporates an HACCP quality control system.

 

Fishing technology: 

All of Þórsberg’s fishing fleet are longline vessels. The company operates five vessels – one larger vessel (350 tonnes) and four small ones.

 

Processing machinery: 

Þórsberg’s machinery is typical equipment used in fish processing.

 

Transportation:

Transportation of goods to Reykjavík happens by truck. All the frozen and salted fish are shipped out of the country on ships, and fresh fish typically goes by aeroplane. Lately, however, Þórsberg has begun exporting fresh products by ship as well.

 

Employees:

Each new employee receives an extensive and detailed tour of the plant. The new employee is trained by a more-experienced worker for a length of time as deemed adequate by a supervisor. Most of the new workers begin with simpler work in the factory and gradually learn more complex and advanced tasks through experience.

 

Working hours:

Workdays are from 08.00 to 16.10.

 

Distribution of products:

Þórsberg distributes its products through distribution agents. The company works with several agents at a time, who in turn negotiate fish trading in foreign markets. The foreign buyers request specific products. Þórsberg then verifies whether it can supply the product or not. Þórsberg exports most of its products, while its domestic business is mainly with local restaurants.

Since the company profile is to provide high quality fish, the relatively high prices correspond to the high quality of the products.

 

Marketing:

There is currently no marketing department for Þórsberg; therefore, the managers work with distribution agents directly.  The company is MSC certified, meaning it is a holder of an environmental certificate for sustainable fisheries. This certificate is also being used for marketing purposes, as it can increase consumer interest.

 

Research and Development:

The company is not engaged with any research at the moment.

 

Investment:

Major recent investments include the purchase of a food production line from Marel in 2007.

 

Social benefits:

In spring 2010, the company’s employees began a workers’ association to help facilitate communication and representation between company employees. This association is organised and managed by the workers. They arrange discounts for the local sports facilities and other social activities throughout the year.

 

Local sponsorship:

The company sponsors both the sports team in Tálknafjörður and the golf club in Bíldudalur. Many employees in the company are members of these organisations and actively participate.

 

Collaboration:

Samtök Atvinnulífsins and LÍÚ.

 

Local collaboration:

Þórsberg supports the local school and church, monetarily and socially. In addition, there is a town festival every summer which the company is involved with. This supports community interaction through company involvement.

 

Profits:

Þórsberg has reported no profits for the past two years, as all revenue has been used to pay off debts. The company has the capacity and desire to increase production; however, it is limited to the availability of raw material.  In order to increase production the company must rent additional quotas from other fishermen; this endeavour is consistently focused on by company managers, as they seek to be more stable in that area.

 

Environmental outlook:

Þórsberg’s fishing strategy is to catch fish by hook. Such a sustainable fishing technique provides the company with certain advantages, as the fish quality is higher and marketing opportunities are greater. As a result of producing such quality products, the company can justifiably and sustainably maintain higher prices. Clients in the industry are interested in sustainable fisheries; especially in the UK as such environmentally-friendly products are in high demand. The company is also certified by MSC, an eco-labelling outfit, for two of its species: cod and haddock.