Bunge to buy California rice milling business
by Eric Schroeder
ST. LOUIS — Bunge North America, the North American operating arm of Bunge Ltd., has agreed to buy the rice milling business of Pacific International Rice Mills, L.L.C. (P.I.R.M.I.), a subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch, Inc. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Pacific International Rice Mills produces bulk and packaged milled rice for domestic and export markets at its mill in Woodland, Calif., which is in the Sacramento rice growing region. The company has annual milling capacity of 363,000 tonnes and sells products to customers in the food service, food processing and export channels.
“The purchase of P.I.R.M.I.’s business supports Bunge’s strategy of expanding into adjacent value chains, and rice milling is a natural extension for us,” said Soren Schroder, president and chief executive officer, Bunge North America. “Bunge is a leader in the corn dry milling industry, and success in the rice milling industry relies on many of the same strengths: commodity origination, efficient milling operations, risk management, logistics and a customer-focused approach to business.”
Pete Kraemer, vice-president of supply at Anheuser-Busch, said the sale of P.I.R.M.I. will allow Anheuser-Busch to focus its rice milling operations on those used for its beers.
Bunge has been a supplier to Anheuser-Busch for more than 30 years, providing corn products for brewing. P.I.R.M.I. will be among the suppliers Anheuser-Busch looks to for its rice purchases.
“We are pleased to have this opportunity to deepen our relationship with Anheuser-Busch and we look forward to working with P.I.R.M.I.’s employees, growers and customers to build on P.I.R.M.I.’s strong foundation to create new markets and develop new products,” said George Allard, vice-president and general manager, Bunge Milling. “A number of factors point to continued demand growth for medium grain rice, including nutritional, demographic and dietary trends, and we are confident we can take advantage of these growth opportunities.”