|Traded as||NSX: RGWB|
|Industry||Food and Beverage Manufacturing|
|Founder||NSW Rice farmers|
Laurie Arthur, Chairman
|Products||Bulk Rice, Rice Products|
|A$1.1 billion (2017)|
Number of employees
SunRice is the consumer brand and trading name of Ricegrowers Limited, which is one of Australia's largest branded food exporters. In the 2017 financial year, SunRice recorded revenue of A$1.1 billion and profit of A$34.2 million.
Australian rice production is based in regional southern New South Wales. The company’s main office is located in Leeton (with a corporate office also in Sydney), and it has rice mills in Leeton, Deniliquin, and Coleambally. SunRice also operates CopRice stockfeed plants in Leeton, Tongala and Cobden.
In 2014, SunRice expanded to North Queensland with the purchase of the rice mill in Brandon, having recognised the region as an opportunity to grow specialty rice varieties to complement its existing supply of rice from the Riverina region in New South Wales.
TV cook and personality Poh Ling Yeow as well as nutritionist and internationally trained chef Zoe Bingley-Pullin are brand ambassadors for SunRice, while Karen Martini is the face of Riviana’s Always Fresh brand.
SunRice began with the establishment of a single rice mill in the Riverina, New South Wales in 1950. Today, SunRice has operations across Australia, Papua New Guinea, the Pacific, the USA, Asia and the Middle East.
SunRice manufactures more than 700 products - from table rice and rice flour, snacks and rice meals, to companion animal and livestock products
Driven by SunRice’s strategy to market Australia’s high-quality rice to discerning consumers around the world through a diversified product portfolio leveraging evolving global food trends, around 80% of the Australian crop is exported as branded product in an average year to key markets including Asia, the Pacific and the Middle East.
An example of SunRice’s strength as an Australian agribusiness with a fully integrated supply chain to leverage global consumer food trends to innovate and add value to the Riverina rice crop is the launch of adult sized Rice Cake Bites as a healthy, gluten-free, on-the-go snack option. Made from 100% Riverina-grown brown rice and manufactured at SunRice’s plant in Leeton, the new snack was first released in Australia with plans to go global.
To complement its Australian operations to ensure reliability of supply in low crop years, while enabling Riverina growers to focus on premium varieties that provide higher farm-gate returns, SunRice is establishing sustainable and secure global sourcing and supply chains. In 2016/17, SunRice sourced 320,000 paddy tonnes from Vietnam and has opened a representative office in the country.
Business Units and Brands
CopRice has been supplying animal feed for over 30 years through its plants in Leeton, Tongala and Cobden. The CopRice business was originally established in response to the availability of rice by-products, such as rice pollard: a quality feed which is high in energy and protein. Rice now represents only one of the many ingredients used by CopRice. CopRice also operates a pet food business, which caters for a wide variety of companion animals. CopRice has been proudly supporting the Australian equestrian industry for over a decade through its sponsorship of elite showjumping riders and events. In 2016, CopRice’s sponsored rider, Stuart Tinney, won bronze at the Rio Olympics.
Riviana Foods is a gourmet food distribution, sales and marketing company owned by SunRice. It has the largest share of olives and pickled vegetables in the retail channel in Australia. In its grocery business, important brands include Always Fresh, Felhbergs, Admiral, Captain, Riviana and Mahatma. Riviana Foods also has a strong presence in the food service sector and an extensive portfolio of brands including Riviana, Menu Master, Garden Supreme and Ocean Supreme.
Trukai is a rice product packaging, distribution, sales and marketing company that is two-thirds owned by SunRice, with the remaining interest held by the people of Papua New Guinea (PNG) through the Pacific Balanced Fund. It is Papua New Guinea’s leading supplier of quality rice products.
Registered in 1970 by SunRice, Trukai has a number of well-established brands including Trukai and Roots Rice. Trukai’s head office and processing base is located in Lae, with a marketing office in Port Moresby and distribution facilities located throughout Papua New Guinea. Trukai employs over 1,000 people throughout the country.
Trukai has a strong focus on community and encouraging healthy lifestyles at the grassroots level in PNG. The company’s ongoing sponsorship of the North Queensland Cowboys rugby league team has continued to boost the profile of the game in a country where rugby league is the national sport. For the past 18 years, Trukai has hosted the National Trukai Fun Run in Port Moresby, which is a vital fundraising event to support PNG’s Olympic Team.
To support PNG rice farmers, Trukai has taken a new approach to increasing productivity while giving back to the people in the communities. With the establishment of various pilot rice projects in the country, Trukai has been able to assist small holder farmers by providing the tactical expertise, equipment, training and skills to help the people in the rural communities produce their own rice. In 2017, Trukai progressed this with the development of the Markham Valley rice project with the cooperation of the Chingwam Rice Growers Cooperative to establish a 580-hectare plantation near Rangiampum for a rain fed crop. Trukai also opened the country’s first hulling mill marking a critical step towards creating a holistic paddy-to-plate value chain.
Solrice, located in the Solomon Islands, is a distribution, sales and marketing company wholly owned by SunRice. It is the Solomon Islands’ leading supplier of quality rice products, including the well-established Solrais brand.
SunFoods is a rice milling, distribution and marketing company that was established in 2008 and now owned by SunRice. SunFoods is the owner of the Hinode brand, which was created by the California-based Rice Growers Association in the 1930s. The Hinode brand is very strong in medium-grain rice markets throughout the US, and is stocked in retail outlets including Walmart, WinCo Foods Stores and Kruger. SunFoods’ head office and milling base is located in Woodlands, California.
SunRice’s wholly owned subsidiary AGS owns and operates Riverina-based grain storage infrastructure with capacity exceeding 1 million tonnes. With an extensive grower base in the Riverina and beyond, AGS is well placed to meet storage requirements for all grain types.
Rice Research Australia Pty Ltd (RRAPL), a wholly owned subsidiary of SunRice, undertakes rice varietal and agronomic research and development in partnership with the NSW Department of Primary Industries and the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC). RRAPL operates a leased farm in the Riverina for its activities.
In July 2014, SunRice announced the acquisition of the rice milling assets of the Blue Ribbon Rice Group. The assets, located in North Queensland’s Burdekin region, include property, plant and equipment.
SunRice is committed to building a sustainable Queensland rice industry, investing significantly to improve the quality of locally grown rice and manufacturing productivity at the Brandon Mill. Key developments have seen a weighbridge installed to enable growers to directly deliver paddy to the mill. A new software system is also being investigated to improve the management of incoming and outgoing rice stocks. SunRice has also expanded the rice storage capacity at the Brandon Mill, with the purchase of 40 hectares of land adjacent to the Mill, where new storage facilities have been built to supplement the Mill’s recently commissioned grain drying equipment. The new facility includes 18 new paddy drying silos with 4,000 tonne capacity to complement the Mill’s existing 1,500 tonnes of storage.
SunRice and RRAPL, in conjunction with the Federal Government, Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) and other private and state-based organisations and universities, are progressing preparations for rolling out the program of activity for the Government’s $4 million Rural R&D for Profit grant announced last year to support the North Queensland rice industry.
Corporate and Social Responsibility
In 2017, for the fifth year running, SunRice has teamed up with Riverina rice growers and Deniliquin Freighters to bring hunger relief to thousands of Australians.
SunRice has engaged the entire rice industry supply chain to donate 96 tonnes of Australian medium grain rice, or the equivalent of 1.37 million serves of rice, valued at more than $180,000 including freight, to Foodbank. Foodbank is the largest hunger relief organisation in Australia, providing food supplies to a range of front-line charities and community groups.
In 2017, SunRice dished up more than 1 million serves of rice for Foodbank’s ‘Shop & Share’ campaign.
In 2015, SunRice launched the annual Jan Cathcart Scholarship for females in the rice industry undertaking tertiary studies. The scholarship honours the memory of long-term SunRice employee Jan Cathcart and her 43 year contribution to the rice industry.
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