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An article on the Icelandic Sales Agency in Iceland BUSINESS
22-03-2002
The following article was published in Iceland Business 1*2002.
Where Quality of Products and Service is the Main Priority.
65 millj. USD Turnover in 2001 for the Icelandic Sales Agency
The Icelandic Sales Agency is not a company with a high profile. Maybe it is time to pay more attention to the company as last year’s turnover was close to USD 65 millj.

The Icelandic Sales Agency was founded in 1970 by the late Bjarni Magnússon. In the 30 years or so since the company was established, it has managed to become one of the leading exporters of fish products from Iceland. We got managing director Birgir Bjarnason on the line and posed him a few questions.

The Icelandic Sales Agency is now heading for a 50% increase in turnover for 2001. What do you think are the main reasons for this?
The increase in turnover of the Icelandic Sales Agency has been fairly steady in recent years, about 20-30% a year. The extra increase last year can mostly be attributed to devaluation and a general increase in prices for seafood products. Our plans assume a fairly steady increase in turnover in years to come, on a similar note to that obtained in previous years, or approximately 20-30%.

How is quality control carried out? What demands are set by overseas partners?
Increases in the value of seafood products are always followed by increased demands for quality. Higher prices mean that buyers demand more and more in terms of quality. The Icelandic Sales Agency has always been careful to keep up with developments in quality issues and to meet with the demands of the market in this regard. We have tried to be several steps ahead. As we are not manufacturers, we have worked on this with quality control officers who carefully inspect the product before it is sent out of the country. In this way, regular good collaboration with manufacturers has resulted in better quality to buyers.

What are the main marketing regions of the company?
The main markets of the Icelandic Sales Agency are the USA, northern and southern Europe. 25% of the company’s exports go to the USA, 35% to northern Europe (Britain, France and Germany), 25% to southern Europe (Spain and Portugal) and about 15% to other markets. There is still leeway for increased exports, and our aim is to expand our marketing region.

Are you thinking of creating a niche for yourself in new markets in the foreseeable future?
We believe that there is still considerable room for us in the markets that we are already working in, both in terms of older and newer products. Thus we will concentrate on these markets in the years to come. However, of course we have our eyes open for marketing opportunities everywhere and assess the position each time in order to evaluate the opportunities that arise and how best to utilize them.

Have markets changed in the past year in regard to products? Any changed demands?
Markets are forever changing and developing, though perhaps not rapidly. The demand for quality is increasing and changes occur in demand between products. However, we are looking more to the changes that might present themselves within the Icelandic fisheries industry and how we can best prepare ourselves for them. Here I am referring to the discussion that has arisen over the quota system. We feel that changes due to this will become more important – and their effect more extensive – than those that potentially could take place on the markets themselves in regard to Icelandic seafood.

How do you see the market developing over the next months (years)?
We believe that the market for Icelandic seafood will continue to grow, whether this may be linked to increased fishing or to fish farming. The demand for quality will also continue to increase. The demand for better utilization of the catch (such as using heads and bones) will result in changes occurring to the manufactured products themselves. We believe that new products will see the light of day, both alongside and instead of existing products.

What is the future?
The future for our business is linked to a large extent to the outlets for Icelandic companies in general, and we aim to follow these precedents. The seafood production business is a global one, so we are also investigating the possibility of trading in other products than Icelandic ones. Thus we feel we can expand and supplement our basic service to our customers, to their advantage.

At the Icelandic Sales Agency we make the quality of products and service our main priority, and in doing so we will try to secure new markets in the future.



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Boston seafood show March 12-14th 2002

An article on the Icelandic Sales Agency in Iceland BUSINESS

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