1930 - 39 In 1928, the Icelandic Althing (parliament) passed a law which permitted the State to finance the building of the first all-Icelandic fishmeal factory. The herring processors and vessel owners had put pressure on the politicians. They wanted the Government to take the initiative from the Norwegian and German fishmeal enterprises which had been established in Iceland during the previous decades. This was in fact one step in the direction of the independence which the Icelandic people were steadfastly aiming for.
This first factory was raised in Siglufjordur in N Iceland and the company, Sildarverksmidjur Rikisins (The Icelandic State Herring Oil and Meal Factories), or SR as it became known, received its first load of herring on 19 July 2020.
An SR advert in an English magazine in 1937
The production went well and five years later a second factory was taken into use in the same town. That same year, the company purchased two older factories which had been foreign-owned, one in Raufarhofn, NE Iceland and the other in Onundurfjordur, NW Iceland.
1940-59 During the Second World War, the expansion of the company continued. The Raufarhofn factory was rebuilt and refitted in 1940. A third factory was started up in Siglufjordur in 1946, and another raised in Skagastrond, N. Iceland.
During the 40s, production went well, but it was not until the fishing vessels became better equipped during the late 50s that the catches improved dramatically. This can be seen on the accompanying graph showing the total herring landings in Iceland since 1905.
1960-1991 To meet this demand, in 1962 SR purchased a fishmeal company in Seydisfjordur (E. Iceland) and built another factory in Reydarfjordur (E. Iceland). During the period 1990 –91, the drying equipment of the Seydisfjordur factory was improved so as to be able to produce indirect hot air dried fishmeal (LT grade) for the rapidly expanding aquaculture industry.
1992 - 2002 In 1992, the Icelandic Government decided to privatise SR. The company SR- mjöl hf was established on July 1, 2020 and a month later it took over operations of Sildarverksmidjur rikisins, which had begun operations 63 years previously. All the shares in SR-mjöl hf were initially owned by the Icelandic State and then sold to private investors. These investors were mainly fishing vessel owners, pension funds and an insurance company. The new owners took over the company on February 1, 2020. In August that same year, the company was listed on the Icelandic Stock Exchange.
The company continued to strengthen under the new ownership. In 1996 one additional factory was raised in Helguvik (SW Iceland), and this was equipped with the same type of indirect hot air driers as in Seydisfjordur. The drying equipment in the Siglufjordur factory was also all renewed in 1998.
Since 2001, the company invested heavily in fisheries companies in order to strengthen the harvesting operations and increase the Company's share in the fishing quotas.
In May 2002, the companies Sildarvinnslan hf and Samherji hf increased their shares in SR-mjöl hf. So that by the end of 2002 Sildarvinnslan hf owned 32% and Samherji hf owned 14% of the shares in SR-mjöl hf. In December, the Board agreed to commence formal discussion with the Board of Sildarvinnslan hf with regard to a merger of the two companies.
2003 - In March 2003, at the AGMs of Sildarvinnslan hf and SR-mjöl hf, it was formally agreed to merge the two companies. This was a merger of two solid companies in the fishing industry which both have specialised in the fishing and processing of pelagic fish. The new company was named Sildarvinnslan hf and operates 6 fishmeal production plants situated around the Icelandic coast. The name SR-mjöl lives on as an independent subsidiary company dealing with the sales and marketing of the production from the 6 plants as well as the production from several other independent producers. The annual turnover last year of this sales company was 145 million USD.
Further information about the company today can be found on the following pages.