NutraCea emerges from Chapter 11

by Eric Schroeder
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PHOENIX — NutraCea, a provider of stabilized rice bran, rice bran oil and their derivative products, emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection effective Nov. 30. The emergence came a little more than a year after the company filed a voluntary petition under Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code in order to restructure its operations under court-supervised protection and a little more than a month after the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Arizona entered an order confirming the first amended plan of reorganization proposed jointly by NutraCea and the Official Unsecured Creditors Committee.

“Over the course of the past year NutraCea has taken full advantage of the opportunities afforded by Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code to restructure our company and reposition our go-forward businesses,” said W. John Short, chairman and chief executive officer. “As previously reported, during the past 18 months we sold four non-core assets and used the proceeds to fund our restructuring, pay our DIP lender in full and set aside cash for partial repayment of our unsecured creditors. We have made excellent progress streamlining overheads, reducing debt and increasing profitable sales in our core businesses in the areas of (stabilized rice bran), (rice bran oil) and related products derived from stabilized rice bran.

“During that same period, we strengthened our management team with the additions of Dale Belt as c.f.o. and Colin Garner as senior vice-president of sales. We were able to attract John Quinn to join our board of directors as chairman of the audit committee. We engaged BDO Seidman LLP as our worldwide auditor firm. And we settled shareholder class action litigation within D&O policy limits.”

Mr. Short said NutraCea will begin to make distributions to its creditors by mid-December beginning with the convenience class claimants. Distributions will continue periodically as additional non-core assets are monetized and funds are received from other sources until all allowed claims have been paid in full, he said.

“We are very excited about the prospects for our company as we emerge from Chapter 11,” Mr. Short said. “All of us at NutraCea will be applying even greater energy to take advantage of the significant opportunities that exist for the future growth and profitability of NutraCea.”

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