Brivais Vilnis is the biggest and most modern Joint stock Company for fish processing in Latvia. It operates in over 30 markets and is prepared with a fully equipped production line to manufacture and support just about any market. The Company was the first company in the Baltics to be awarded the certificate of compliance with the requirements of the EU Directive 91/493/EEC, allowing exports to the EU member states. This company produces gourmet canned sprats; roasted canned fish; packaged fish; Atlantic canned fish in oil and tomato sauce; canned fish in jelly; and pate and fish balls. The company is also involved in the wholesale of food products, such as fish, shellfish, and mollusk.
Latvia has always been known for its fishing traditions and fish products thanks to having 500 km of coastal area. In 1949, the Fishing Industry Ministry of the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic gave way to establish a fisher collective farm called “Brivais Vilnis” in Salacgriva, located on the right bank of the Salaca river, on the east coast of Riga Bay just 100 km from Riga.
Among the fish products produced in the country, the oldest and the most featured are canned sprats. It is thought that the production of canned sprats began at around 1892 in the fish-processing workshop on the coast of the Gulf of Riga. Sprats in Latvia are traditionally smoked using alder wood giving them a specific taste and making them a consumer favorite for more than 100 years now. Apart from sprats, since the 1950s, the processing and canning of Baltic herring, smelt and cod; as well as a group of ocean fish such as: herring, hardhead, pilchard, sardines, mackerel, etc. has rapidly developed in parallel. The fishing industry is the strongest and most prepared to export of the food processing industry in Latvia. Over 97% of the products produced are exported to more than 40 countries.
Moving on with the story, in 1992 after Latvia regained its independence the fisher collective farm was transformed into a joint stock company, and soon after, JSC “Brivais vilnis” became one of the largest and most financially stable fish processing companies in the Baltics. In fact, JSC “Brivais vilnis” was the first Baltic fish processing company to start producing canned fish in lithographed Hansa 190g and Dingly 100 g easy-open cans. It wasn’t until the market accepted this type of packaging that other canned fish producers in the Baltics dared to invest in such lines.
The process of preparing canned sprat is carefully followed. It starts during the cold months of the year, when Baltic Sea sprat and herring are fished, which is when the fish is sufficiently fat and have empty stomachs. Summer fish is not suitable for sprat production because the food in their stomachs makes them bitter and the oil in the cans turns out turbid.
Fisheries then send the fish to Brivais vilnis where it is very carefully sorted before sending it to the workshops. At the workshops, firstly, the fish is manually put on special small skewers; and after the fish is threaded nicely side by side, skewers are placed in frames forming several rows of fish. Then frames are put into square containers for the smoking process. The containers are taken to a tunnel-type smoking chamber, where at the beginning of the tunnel, the fish is dried out and loses approximately 30% of its weight through evaporating water. When the fish is dry, the containers are taken further down the tunnel where the fish is smoked.
After smoked fish has cooled down and the heads are cut off, it is transported to the production line to be packed into the cans. Once in the cans, they are taken by the production line further to the salt and oil dosimeter. Lastly, the cans are closed, sterilized and labelled. Sprat can be stored at room temperatures for about 2.5 years.
Today, Joint Stock Company Brivais vilnis is legally established for an indeterminate period of time. The Company is regulated by its Statutes, Commercial Law and Financial Instruments Market Law. It is member of the society “Riga Sprats”, which holds the trademark “Riga sprat in oil”; controls the quality of products of the other members of the association; and develops recommendations to improve overall quality of the industry.
JSC “Brivais vilnis” shares are listed on JSC “Nasdaq Riga” Secondary List. JSC “Brivais vilnis” meets all requirements specified in JSC “Nasdaq Riga” normative acts relating to shares in the regulated market. The company has no restrictions on free circulation of shares. The registered and paid up share capital is 3,099,450 LVL and it is divided into 3,099,450 shares. All shares are bearer shares in a dematerialized form and carry voting rights. The nominal value of 1 share is LVL 1.
The net turnover in 2015 exceeded EUR 7 million and in 2016 the company plans to reach the same result. Also In 2016, the company is planning to reach 150 tons to 200 tons sales volume in China.
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