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Icelandic fishing company Brim has announced that it is closing its whitefish processing plant in Hafnarfjördur. The plan is to merge it with its groundfish processing plant in Nordurgard, in Reykjavík. The facility will cease operations by October 30 at the latest, so most of the 31 employees will be laid off. The contractual notice to do so began yesterday, July 27.
“With these actions, we are reacting to the changed operating conditions, strengthening Brim’s groundfish processing and thus supporting the company’s operations in the long term,” said the company in announcing the closure.
Lower quotas, difficult competition, and low profitability
“There have been significant upheavals in the fishing industry and on international markets since Brim confirmed the purchase of Fiskvällurnni Kambi in October 2019,” the company argued. The first difficulty raised by the company has been the reduction of total cod catch quotas in Íslandsmidur, which have been reduced by 23.5%.
“A competitive position with foreign fish processors for the purchase of raw materials/fish for processing in domestic fish markets have been difficult,” they continued, “the prices have been high and the profit from the processing of that raw material is non-existent.” In addition, they added, “there have been large cost increases, both domestically and abroad, which have affected the operation.”
Efforts will be made to relocate employees
In the release announcing the closure, the company said that, after consultation with representatives of the workers’ unions, it will try to relocate the employees. This will be done either in similar jobs at Brim’s fish processing plant in Nordurgard, in Reykjavík, or in other positions within the Brims group. The company will also advise and assist them in their job search.
Recently, Brim obtained a sustainability-linked loan facility. “This 220-million-euro loan will help us restructure our finances and prepare for a technology–led future,” then said Gudmundur Kristjánsson, CEO of Brim. It seems that it has not been enough to prevent the closure of this processing plant which joins other recent closures in Iceland, such as the one announced by Snæfell, a subsidiary of Samherji, of its cold water shrimp processing operations at its Hólmadrang’s facility. Like Brim with Fiskvällurnni Kambi, Samherji had also taken over the processing operation at the end of 2019.
Brim is one of the biggest Icelandic fishing companies, active in groundfish and pelagic fishing and processing. With operating units in different locations in Iceland, it integrates fishing, processing, and marketing operations, employing approximately 800 full-time workers at sea and on land. The company emphasizes corporate social responsibility and respect for Icelandic marine resources and actively promotes sustainable fisheries through innovation and environmental stewardship, seeking harmony between community and profitable business.
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