NutraCea posts loss in quarter but sees demand

by Eric Schroeder
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PHOENIX — NutraCea sustained a loss of $247,000 in the first quarter ended March 31, which compared with a loss of $233,000 in the same period a year ago. Net sales totaled $1,997,000, down 47% from $3,782,000 in the first quarter of fiscal 2006.

"The shortfall in revenues was primarily attributable to $2.6 million of purchase orders for product that we produced for three new customers, for which we did not recognize revenues for reasons including the timing of the acceptance of delivery by the customers and product labels not being completed by the third-party co-packer," NutraCea said. The company said it expects to recognize the revenue in the second quarter.

While admitting the first-quarter timing issue was "unfortunate," Brad Edson, president and chief executive officer, said it was not indicative of any shortage of demand for NutraCea’s product.

"In fact, we are seeing tremendous demand for our products from the large food companies and others that eagerly await the availability of supply of stabilized rice bran from our future plants to satisfy the burgeoning demand," he said.

Leo Gingras, chief operating officer, said the company is on track for its production expansion. NutraCea’s first Louisiana-based plant has been operating at full capacity since April and a second facility in the state is under construction and will be ready for commissioning later this year, he said. The company also is making headway on expansion in Dillon, Mont., and Arbuckle, Calif.

NutraCea also on Wednesday announced it purchased specialized equipment for blending and pelleting Stabilized Rice Bran. The new equipment will allow for product line extension, NutraCea said.

"By allocating part of our bulk animal production to this new pelleting operation, NutraCea will be achieving an improved level of value from its existing supply of bran and strengthen its relationship with new and existing customers who need the value-added production," Mr. Gingras said.

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