Norwegian fishing giant establishes in Kungälv
On June 1, the first sod was laid for the seafood group Leröy's new main facility in Sweden. Among those present were the Norwegian ambassador Christian Syse, the construction company BRA Group and representatives of the municipal management.
– I like this Norwegian large investment that makes Kungälv even stronger in food production. First, there will be 70 new construction jobs and after Easter, 100 new permanent jobs to Kungälv. It will be exciting that this is where all the shrimp sandwiches will come from next year, it will make many people all over the country happy, says Miguel Odhner (s), chairman of the municipal board Kungälv municipality.
The company is moving its operations from Stockholm and Fiskhamnen in Gothenburg, to gather the Swedish operations in a completely new, environmentally certified facility with returnable packaging systems and solar cells on the roof. The investment creates employment for around 100 people in Kungälv - these are buyers, sellers and other white-collar workers as well as around 60 people in the production itself.
– If we had only started from getting cheap labour, we might not have invested here, it is a little too good for this region. But we need to attract people with good knowledge in IT and advanced production, and the right location is important for many reasons, says Mattias Gunnarsson, CEO of Leröy Seafood AB, the Group's Swedish subsidiary.
The choice of location was highly conscious. Logistics costs and climate reasons were decisive. The company found industrial land along road E6 north of Kungälv, not far from ICA's central warehouse.
– We have carefully analyzed how the fish flow and found that the best location is at the West Coast, just north of Gothenburg, says Mattias Gunnarsson, CEO of Leröy Seafood AB, the Group's Swedish subsidiary.
The product comes from Norway, Skagerak and Kattegat, but also the continent.
– We will save 1,500,000 tonne-kilometres per year with this setup. Our customers get fresher fish, at the same time as it provides environmental benefits as transport is shortened.
The market for food from the sea is growing in Sweden, but slowly, where the investment in Kungälv is part of Leröy's attempt to gain market share in the Swedish market, according to the CEO. Mattias Gunnarsson's sharpest competitors are in Fiskhamnen in Gothenburg, companies such as Fisk today, Hanssons and Fiskeriet.
– It can only be gratifying that the Gothenburg region becomes an even heavier centre for the Swedish seafood market and attracts further employment here. The large Norwegian fishing companies are dominant in the market, and that one of them makes such an offensive investment here is in many ways a message of strength, says Henrik Einarsson, Establishment Manager at Business Region Göteborg, who has not participated in the establishment.
In addition, a warm welcome in Kungälv, which will lose about as many jobs when Orkla, another Norwegian group, now chooses to close the biscuit factory in a year or so, he points out.
– At the same time, it naturally means that competition in the Swedish seafood market is increasing a few notches. But I hope and believe that the companies in Fiskhamnen and our strong fishing industry in the region will grow through this Norwegian challenge.
Leröy has similar facilities in eight other European countries. The company is, according to its statement, the second largest in the world in salmon farming, has its Norwegian fleet that catches whitefish and a fully integrated food chain up to retail and restaurants. The wholesale facility in Kungälv complements Leröy's fish processing factory in Kungshamn, Sweden's largest fish smokehouse, which also delivers marine salads, pâtés and other products with a longer shelf life. In total, the Norwegian stock exchange group has almost 5,000 employees.
Construction in Kungälv will start immediately. Leröy expects to move in and be operational immediately after Easter 2022.