NutraCea, Alothon complete joint venture deal

by Eric Schroeder
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SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ. — NutraCea announced it has completed its joint venture agreement with Alothon Group. Alothon is a private equity firm that manages AF Bran Holding L.L.C., which late last year agreed to acquire an ownership interest in Nutra SA, L.L.C., the 100% owner of Industria Riograndese De Oleos Vegetais Ltda.

Under terms of the transaction, AF Bran Holdings will purchase membership units of Nutra SA directly from NutraCea for $4 million and invest an additional $3,725,000 in Nutra SA to fund expansion and provide working capital at Irgovel, which operates a Pelotas, Brazil-based rice bran oil production facility. After the initial closing, NutraCea will own a 64.4% interest in Nutra SA, and AF Bran Holdings will own the remaining 35.6% interest.

In addition, AF Bran Holdings may be required to purchase from Nutra SA or NutraCea, upon the occurrence of certain events, or it may elect to purchase from NutraCea, up to a 49% ownership interest in Nutra SA by December 2012.

“We are enthused to participate in the significant growth opportunity of the (stabilized rice bran) and (rice bran oil) space in Brazil as well as the rest of the world and particularly pleased to join the NutraCea and Irgovel management, which is a leader in the industry,” said Ettore V. Biagioni, managing partner of Alothon.

W. John Short, chairman and chief executive officer of NutraCea, added, “We are pleased to have completed this transaction and look forward to working with the Alothon team to build Irgovel into a globally competitive, state-of-the-art rice bran oil biorefinery.”

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