Riviana Foods to build facility in Memphis

by Keith Nunes
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HOUSTON — Riviana Foods Inc., a subsidiary of Ebro Puleva, S.A., announced it will construct a 400,000-square-foot rice processing and packaging plant and on-site warehousing/distribution center on a 31-acre site located adjacent to the company’s packaging facility in Memphis, Tenn. Construction will begin in the second quarter of 2008 with final completion planned for mid-2010.

Over the two-year time period, production and packaging at Riviana’s Houston plant will be phased out and transferred to the new Memphis facility. At the end of this transition period, the Houston plant will be closed.

"Development of this new facility is an important step in our ongoing effort to transform Riviana into the world’s most efficient, technically advanced rice company," said Bastiaan de Zeeuw, president and chief executive officer of Riviana. "The decision to close the Houston manufacturing and packaging facility was very difficult, but unfortunately, is necessary for the company to grow and meet competitive pressures, invest in its brands and launch new products."

Mr. de Zeeuw said the consolidation of volumes into a large facility will allow the company to enhance its processing, packing, storage and distribution capabilities and provide economies of scale. The choice of Memphis for the facility was driven by the availability of land next to Riviana’s existing operations, comparative cost of land, the proximity to the major rice growing areas, favorable freight rates, as well as tax and other incentives, according to the company.

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