Icelandic fishing and processing company Vinnslustöðin (VSV) has acquired Portuguese company Grupeixe, which produces, sells and distributes saltfish in Aveiro.
According to VSV, Grupeixe buys its cod from Iceland, Norway and Russia, drying and selling it across its own markets. In 2017 Grupeixe’s 30 staff handled 2300 tonnes of salt cod. The company was established in 1993 by José Maria Pereira Cachide, who has run it as a family business and he he will stay on for two years alongside new managing director Nuno Araújo, who has been VSV’s sales director in Portugal in recent years.
‘The Portuguese saltfish market is of great importance to VSV and we have long made every effort to serve this market as well as possible,’ said VSV’s managing director Sigurgeir B. Kristgeirsson, commenting that the acquisition of Grupeixe is part of a policy of positioning itself closer to the company’s target markets and customers.
‘In 2017 we became part owners in Okada Suisan in Japan, an established family company that has around 50% of the market for capelin products. We saw immediately how important a step that was for VSV and its position on the Asian market which now takes around 50% of the company’s frozen pelagic production. The acquisition of Grupeixe is a logical step in the light of that experience.’
There will be no changes to VSV’s production in the Westman Islands.
‘We are the first foreign company to have full ownership of a Portuguese saltfish producer and we are therefore taking over a well established operation with all the traditions and history that go with it. The Portuguese are the biggest cod consumers in the world. They have gone through a deep and long-lasting economic recession and as a result reduced their saltfish purchasing, as well as which prices fell. All the same we didn’t turn our backs on them, but supported them though the tough times. Then things recovered and so did the market.’
He added that the acquisition of Grupeixe is a milestone that brings with it an obligation to serve well the market for Icelandic saltfish.
‘Net-caught winter season cod from the south and west of Iceland, salted, is Portugal’s Christmas dish and there’s a strong tradition there,’ he said.
‘We have carefully prepared our expansion overseas with market research in several countries, and this step is the result. Now the future is up to us,’ he said.