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Marel hf.
Traded as Nasdaq IcelandMARL
Founded Reykjavik, Iceland (March 17, 1983 (1983-03-17))
Founder Rögnvaldur Ólafsson
Þórður Vigfússon
Headquarters Garðabær, Iceland
Area served
Key people
Árni Oddur Þórðarson
Ásthildur Margrét Otharsdóttir
Products Food processing equipment, systems
Revenue Increase 1.0 billion (2017)[2]
Increase 140.3 million (2017)[2]
Increase 96.9 million (2017)[2]
Total assets Increase 1.4 billion (2017)[2]
Total equity Increase 541.9 million (2017)[2]
Number of employees
5,459[2] (2017)
Website Edit this on Wikidata

Marel hf (Nasdaq IcelandMARL) is an Icelandic based multi-national food processing company that manufactures and provides equipment, systems, software and services to the poultry, meat and fish processing industries.[3] Marel is one of the world's largest manufacturers of food processing machinery.[4]The company employs approximately 5,500 people in offices and subsidiaries in over 30 countries, across six continents. The company is headquartered in Gardabaer, Iceland.[5]


Marel was founded in 1977, when some young engineers at the University of Iceland began to experiment with electronics and early computers. Jon Thor Olafsson, Hreinn Vilhjalmsson, Petur Jonsson and Tomas Rikardsson identified the need of many fish processors in Iceland to quickly and accurately weigh fish as they were being processed to minimize the giveaway of product, and withstand the harsh and wet conditions of fish processing plants.[6]

The Marel engineers focused on implementing early computer technology into food processing equipment, an area where it had not been used extensively. The design plan was to have an array of interconnected systems to increase automation in food processing.[7]


Marel develops, manufactures, sells, and distributes equipment, further processing solutions, software and services for the poultry, fish and meat industries. Marel’s poultry processing sector offers integrated systems for processing broilers, turkeys, and ducks. The Marel Fish Processing segment provides equipment and systems for farmed and wild salmon and whitefish processing. Marel’s Meat Processing division offers systems and equipment for the processes of slaughtering, deboning and trimming, case ready food services, and bacon processing. Marel also offers wastewater treatment solutions designed specifically for the food industry, and packing and logistics solutions.[8]

Corporate identity[edit]

The Marel brand was established in 1983 and went public on the Icelandic Stock Exchange in 1992. The listing in 1992 marked a significant milestone in Marel’s progress from a startup that exclusively focused on the fishing industry, to a global company with operations in diverse industries.[9]

In 2007, Marel changed it corporate identity to Marel Food Systems after acquiring four new brands in 2006: AEW Delford, Carnitech, Marel and Scanvaegt. The acquisition of these companies significantly increased the size of Marel’s operations around the world. On January 1, 2010, Marel Food Systems hf. changed their name back to Marel hf. after their integration with Stork Food Systems of the Netherlands was completed. This was part of Marel’s strategy to integrate all of the companies they have acquired throughout the years under a common identity and company name.[10]

Marel bought MPS meat processing systems in 2015 for EUR 382 million (USD 458 million) to increase their product offerings in the meat segment (pig, cattle and sheep) to balance their knowhow in the fish and poultry industries. In conjunction with the sale, Marel also acquired MPS’s intra-logistics systems for food industries and industrial wastewater treatment systems. MPS has headquarters in the Netherlands, with production sites in the Netherlands and China.[11]

In July of 2017, Marel acquired Sulmaq in Brazil with to expand their operations in South and Central America. Brazil is the second largest producer of beef and the third largest producer of poultry products in the world. Sulmaq is based in the state of Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil and employs approximately 400 people. Sulmaq’s processing operations include hog slaughtering, cattle slaughtering, cutting and deboning, viscera processing and logistics.[12]


Arni Oddur Thordarson has been the Chief Executive Officer of Marel hf since 2013. Prior to becoming CEO, Mr. Thordarson was the Chairman of Marel’s Board of Directors from 2005 to October 31, 2013.[13] Under his direction Marel has seen significant growth and expansion of their business from mainly fish processing to other meat processors, and the consolidation of other industries. Marel has expanded both geographically and in product offerings. 2017 was the first year that Marel’s revenues exceeded EUR 1 billion (USD 1.2 billion) in revenues with an EBIT margin of 15%.[14]

As the demand for protein is increasing worldwide, food industries and processors are transforming their practices to meet these larger expectations while satisfying the demands of efficiency, safety and sustainability. Marel is focused on using innovative technologies to maximize the yields of the food. By implementing advanced technologies to maximize the yields of fish, meat and poultry, the amount of an animal being processed can add up significantly. According to Mr. Thordarson, “Traditionally, fish production in Iceland had a yield of 60%, which means that 60% of every fish caught was consumable. Today, that figure is more like 85%, so we actually produce more from less.”[15]


During the 2007 transition period, Marel Food Systems rolled out their new corporate logo with “marel” all in lowercase letters and a symbolic electron that represents the company’s ideals of technology, innovation, and interconnectivity. All the companies of Marel Food Systems (now Marel hf.) will have the same logotype to match and represent a clear message: these are individual companies that represent a collective force and a unified corporate identity, sharing the same image and the same innovative spirit.[16]

Key acquisitions dates[edit]

  • 1997 – Marel acquires Carnitech in Denmark
  • 2002 – Marel acquires CP Food Machinery
  • 2004 – Marel acquires Pols in Iceland
  • 2006 – Marel acquires AEW Delford in the UK
  • 2006 – Marel acquires Scanvaegt in Denmark
  • 2008 – Marel acquires Stork Food Systems in the Netherlands together with Townsend, owned by Stork
  • 2016 – Marel acquires MPS in the Netherlands
  • 2017 – Marel acquires Sulmaq in Brazil[17]


In 2012 Marel was awarded the EuroTier Gold Award for their contribution in environmental conservation and product safety for poultry processing.[18] The American Meat Institute named Marel their supplier of the year in 2013.[19] In 2014, Marel Stork Poultry Processing won an award in the category of Processing with their "New reference in whole product distribution". Marel also received the most public votes at the event, making them the overall winner of the VIV Europe 2014 innovation award.[20]

In Georgia, USA, Marel Stork Poultry Processing was recognized in 2014 by Gainesville-Hall County in their Industry of the Year Awards for the range of benefits they offer to their employees.[21] In October 2017, Marel’s "Robot with a Knife" won the prestigious Food Processing Award in the category of "Robotics and Automation".[22]


  1. ^ "Árni Oddur Þórðarson". Eyjan. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Marel 2017 Annual Report". Marel. Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  3. ^ "Company Profile". Nasdaq OMX. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  4. ^ Smale, Will (2017-11-22). "How an Icelandic firm became a global food giant". BBC News. Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  5. ^ "Marel: Corporate Profile". Marel. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  6. ^ "Marel History". Marel. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  7. ^ "Marel's Origins". Marel. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  8. ^ "Company Overview of Marel hf". Bloomberg. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
  9. ^ "Marel History". Marel. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  10. ^ [( "Marel Food Systems announces change in company name"] Check |url= value (help). GlobeNewswire. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
  11. ^ "Marel agrees to acquire MPS meat processing systems- favorable long-term financing secured". GlobeNewswire. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  12. ^ "Marel agrees to acquire Sulmaq". Food Safety Magazine. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  13. ^ "Executive Profile: Arni Oddur Thordarson". Bloomberg. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  14. ^ "CEO's Review". Marel. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  15. ^ "The tip of the iceberg: Arni Oddur Thordarson". CEO Magazine. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  16. ^ "The Marel Group Unveils New Corporate Identity". GlobeNewswire. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  17. ^ "Key Dates In Marel's History". Marel. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
  18. ^ "EuroTier gold medal for Marel Stork's Aeroscalder". Poultry World. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
  19. ^ "IPPE - Award for Marel". The Poultry Site. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
  20. ^ "VIV Innovation awards handed out". Poultry World. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
  21. ^ "Marel recognized by Gainesville-Hall County in Industry of the Year Awards". Provisioner online. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
  22. ^ "Robot with a Knife wins Food Processing award". Marel. Retrieved May 4, 2018.