SUNRICE has reported a good start to 2012-13, with after-tax profits for the six months to October 31 up about 24 per cent.The NSW rice processor announced consolidated revenue was $519 million, a 7.7 per cent rise on the same period last year.
SunRice chief executive Rob Gordon said this year's good half-year result was driven by increased sales volumes in the global rice milling and marketing businesses, as well as in its feed division, CopRice.
"Of critical importance has been the rice milling and marketing businesses' ability to efficiently handle increased volumes, rapidly re-establish export markets and seek out new marketing opportunities," Mr Gordon said.
SunRice also reduced its debt by $18 million during the past six months.
The debt now stands at $178 million – much lower than the $303 million declared in May last year when the co-operative faced a takeover bid from Spanish suitor Ebro Foods.
The SunRice board used the high debt as the main reason why it had to sell to Ebro.
But since the takeover bid was spurned by growers, the board has made considerable effort to reduce its debt.
SunRice chairman Gerry Lawson said gearing was now at 53 per cent.