Vísir and Thorbjörn longline vessels at the quayside in Grindavík

The owners of Icelandic fishing companies Vísir and Thorbjörn, both based in the south coast fishing port of Grindavík, have announced that they are looking into the possibility of merging their operations into a single fishing company.

The two companies are well established and already co-operate to a considerable extent, including on ownership of specialist processing companies Haustak and Codland, and a sales outlet in Greece.

Vísir’s focus has been solely on longlining and the company is investing in new capacity

Thorbjörn runs a variety of fishing vessels, including the recently acquired factory trawler Tómas Thorvaldsson (ex-Sisimiut), while Vísir specialises in longline vessels and has new fishing vessels due for delivery shortly.

A new company resulting from such a merger would have around 44,000 tonnes of fishing rights at its disposal, making it one of the largest in Iceland, as well as having an approximately ISK16 billion turnover and a 600-strong workforce.

It has been stressed that while negotiations are in progress, no decisions have been taken, and if the decision is for a merger the new company would come into existence around new year – but until then, the two companies continue to operate as before.

According to a statement, a full merger could take three years to complete and no redundancies are envisaged, although some changes in working patterns and roles would be necessary.

Vísir states that the aim of the companies would be to create a solid company capable of embracing technology and meeting the market’s increasing demands, while also ensuring continuing groundfish production and supporting the local community in Grindavík.