PHOENIX, April 8, 2008 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- NutraCea (OTC Bulletin Board: NTRZ), a world leader in stabilized rice bran (SRB), nutrient research and technology, announced today that they have accelerated their plans to expand the recently acquired Irgovel plant located in Pelotas, Brazil to meet the demand for rice bran oil and deoiled bran.
When purchased earlier this year the plant was operating at less than one third of its total capacity of 70,000 tons of rice bran annually. The Company anticipates that by the end of this quarter, the facility will be operating at over 70% of capacity, and close to full capacity by the middle of the fourth quarter of this year, a timeline that is ahead of the original schedule. The facility is centrally located within the primary rice growing region of South America and the Company is well positioned to source additional supplies of bran from this area.
NutraCea is pleased to report that engineering work is currently underway to significantly increase the capacity of the facility by 60% to approximately 115,000 tons of annual capacity by the end of the first quarter of 2009 and by the end of 2009 anticipates a further expansion that could more than triple NutraCea's capacity to over 210,000 tons of rice bran annually. Additionally, NutraCea is preparing the plant for the installation of its proprietary technology to produce value-added products at the facility and expects to have the first phase of this completed by the first quarter of next year, at which time the sales of these new products should be accretive to both the top and bottom line.
Kody Newland, Senior Vice President of Sales commented, "Demand for rice bran oil and deoiled bran is very strong. We are very optimistic regarding ongoing demand and our ability to sell all the products being manufactured at this facility. Demand remains well in excess of our production capacity for the year ahead and beyond. In the third quarter of this year, we anticipate launching certain new and unique, high margin value-added rice bran oil in major South American cities and the United States.
"The expansion we have begun not only increases future product volumes, but will also add proprietary technologies to broaden our portfolio to introduce innovative value-added rice bran oil and deoiled bran products that have never been available before," said Leo Gingras, Chief Operating Officer of NutraCea.
"The plant is ideally located to service South American demand and is closely located to a major port facility providing ready access to export markets. The world demand for healthy edible oils and specialty products, especially those derived from rice bran oil is at unprecedented levels and we intend to fully optimize Irgovel to help meet this need," Gingras added.
NutraCea is a leader in stabilized rice bran nutrient research and dietary supplement development. The company manufactures as well as distributes products and food ingredients made from Rice Bran through its proprietary technology and processes. The Company has developed intellectual properties and created a range of proprietary product formulations, delivery systems and whole-food nutrition products. NutraCea's proprietary technology enables the creation of food and nutrition products from rice bran, normally a wasted by-product of standard rice processing. In addition to its whole-foods products, NutraCea develops families of health-promoting "nutraceuticals," including natural arthritic relief and cholesterol-lowering products. More information can be found in the company's filings with the SEC and you can visit the NutraCea web site http://www.NutraCea.com.
Forward Looking Statements
This release contains forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, statements regarding our utilization and expansion of capacity at our facility in Brazil, our production of value added and new products at this facility, the market demand and pricing for rice bran oil and deoiled bran and the impact of this facility on our revenue and profit,, all of which statements are subject to market risks, and the possibility that NutraCea will not be able to utilize available capacity as expected, complete the plant modifications and expansions on a timely basis, operate the plant efficiently, or obtain sufficient customer demand to utilize expected production and realize profit from the plant. These statements are made based upon current expectations and actual results may differ from those projected due to a number of risks and uncertainties. The Company does not undertake to update forward-looking statements in this news release to reflect actual results, changes in assumptions or changes in other factors affecting such forward- looking information. Assumptions and other information that could cause results to differ from those set forth in the forward-looking information can be found in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the company's most recent periodic report.
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