Media Center

Sign up for our newsletter

Index: 0

Hampiðjan celebrates 90th anniversary!


In 1934 Guðmundur S. Guðmundsson, engineer and foreman at engineering company Héðinn, took the initiative and brought together a dozen individuals to establish a company to manufacture twine and netting from hemp fibres. The primary reason for this was a shortage of materials for fishing gears.

The founders mostly had close connections to the fishing industry, as skippers and engineers with interests of their own to protect. Along with Guðmundur, those who contributed share capital were engineers Jón Guðlaugsson and Guðmann Hróbjartsson, skippers Hannes Pálsson, Halldór Gíslason, Bergthór Teitsson, Vilhjálmur Árnason, Jóhann Stefánsson, Kristján Kristjánsson, Jón Björn Elísson and Sigurjón Einarsson, as well as printing press proprietor Gunnar Einarsson and businessman Frímann Ólafsson.

A preparatory meeting was held on 10th March and the founding meeting was held at six in the evening of the 5th April.

Within a year of Hampiðjan’s founding, the company’s products had completely replaced imported twine and fishing lines. The war and the years up to 1948 were especially challenging as Hampiðjan continued to supply the fishing fleet with gear.

The subsequent years were tough ones as the company had to compete against subsidised imported twines and lines, while Hampiðjan’s raw materials were subject to high import tolls. At that time there was a double rate of exchange, and fishing companies enjoyed a more favourable rate than other businesses, which was not to industry’s advantage.

Licences were made available in 1956 to renew the company’s machines, and this was done between 1957 and 1961. This made production more competitive, and led to a more favourable financial outcome. A few years later, there was a major change when synthetic materials began to replace natural fibres. In 1964 there was a sudden, wholesale switch of materials used in demersal trawls and other fishing gears that overnight made most of Hampiðjan’s machines obsolete.

The owners were faced with the choice of closing down the company, or investing in new equipment that was suitable for these new materials. A courageous decision was made to continue and this marked the beginning of a new era of systematic innovation and development at Hampiðjan. New twines and ropes had to be developed, and with its high-tech new systems the company was able to offer comparable or better products than its competitors.

At this time Hampiðjan was solely a producer of materials for fishing gears and its customers were the large number of net lofts around the country. It was not possible for Hampiðjan to establish its own net loft in Iceland, in competition with its own customers, so the decision was taken to establish and acquire net lofts overseas. There were initially outside Europe, and later on in Denmark and Ireland with the acquisition of Cosmos Trawl and Swan Net.

This was followed by a pause in further expansion, and since 2013 Hampiðjan has increased six-fold in size, from a turnover of €50 million, to €322 last year. This growth has been a mixture of robust internal expansion, coupled to the acquisition of companies in the fishing and aquaculture equipment sectors.

The founders of the company ninety years ago could undoubtedly never have foreseen that their modest venture, which struggled in its early decades, could become the world’s largest fishing gear supplier, with activities from Dutch Harbor in the west to Timaru on New Zealand’s South Island to the east.

Today Hampiðjan has 76 locations in 21 countries, with a workforce of around 2000. The group’s headquarters are at Skarfabakki, within Reykjavík’s Sundahöfn port area, housing its head offices, net loft and warehouse in Iceland. The heart of its production is at Hampidjan Baltic in Lithuania, where production of twines, netting and braided super-ropes takes place, as well as finished fishing gears.

There were two major events at Hampiðjan last year, when the acquisition of Norwegian company Mørenot was finalised, followed by the company floating on the Nasdaq Iceland stock market, opening up new opportunities for further growth and efficiency.

‘We owe the founders and owners of Hampiðjan a debt of gratitude for the 90 years of effort and endurance that placed Hampiðjan where it is today,’ said CEO Hjörtur Erlendsson.

‘We look forward with optimism to the numerous opportunities ahead of us, and are determined to continue to place a strong emphasis on the innovation and product development that are the basis of our being able to continue on this path. This autumn the IceFish exhibition will be held, and this has been Hampiðjan’s primary showcase since the exhibition began in 1984. On the second day of the exhibition we plan to mark the company’s anniversary in the net loft at Skarfabakki with a celebratory reception.’


Hampidjan's first building in Stakkholt, Reykjavik.

Guðmundur S. Guðmundsson, one of the founders of Hampidjan.

Hjörtur Erlendsson, CEO of Hampidjan.

Hampidjan's Board of Directors 2014-2024.

The first netloft, located in Stakkholt.

Hampidjan Baltic's netloft in Litháen.

Hampidjan in Neskaupstadur, Iceland.

Please fill in the below details in order to view the requested content.