THE WOODLANDS, TEXAS — RiceBran Technologies named Peter G. Bradley, who joined the company’s board of directors in August 2019, as executive chairman on Aug. 12, the same day the company reported a second-quarter loss of $3.95 million. Mr. Bradley will take over the functions of Brent R. Rystrom, who stepped down as president, chief executive officer and board member on Aug. 14. RiceBran Technologies will not have a president and CEO at this time.
“Having spent the better part of my career in the ingredients business, I firmly believe RiceBran and its derivatives, in particular, deliver excellent nutrition and functional benefits and a wide range of products, either for human food or companion animal or equine feed systems,” Mr. Bradley said in an Aug 12 earnings call to discuss second-quarter results. “That is what drove me to join the board of directors last year and what compels me to have taken the helm of the company at this time.
“Unlike crops such as soy, corn and wheat, rice derivatives have been underutilized in food processing, which represents a compelling opportunity for the company.”
Mr. Bradley has experience as an executive in consumer foods, dietary supplements, food ingredients and specialty chemicals. He was a principal at Ingredient Insights, which is a consulting business focused on food ingredients and specialty materials, and served as an operating partner at Arbor Investments, which is a private equity firm that focuses on acquisitions in the food, beverage and related industries.
Mr. Bradley from 2014 to 2016 was CEO of Novel Ingredients, which supplies ingredients and finished products to the US dietary supplement industry. He also held executive positions at Sensient Technologies Corp. He received a bachelor’s degree in business studies from the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom and a post-graduate diploma in marketing from Manchester Business School.
“We have built a valuable platform at RiceBran Technologies, and Peter is well- positioned to lead our company in its efforts to maximize that value,” Mr. Rystrom said in the earnings call. “His strong senior management and sales leadership background in highly successful ingredient companies will be invaluable in helping us expand the opportunities in our high-margin ingredient business to drive future growth.”
The Woodlands-based RiceBran Technologies has engaged BMO Capital Markets to review strategic options, help the company maximize the value of its assets and pursue opportunities in its higher-margin ingredient business, said Todd T. Mitchell, chief financial officer and secretary.
The company’s loss of $3.95 million in the quarter ended June 30 compared with a loss of $3.66 million in the previous year’s second quarter. Revenues dropped 5% to $5.90 million from $6.22 million. Revenues increased 4% for animal feed products but decreased 9% for human consumption products.
Higher rice prices related to COVID-19 affected results negatively.
“Initial fears of inadequate food supplies caused a surge in demand for rice as consumers engaged in widespread pantry stocking,” Mr. Rystrom said. “This demand accelerated milling for several months, which caused shortages in the supply of patty rice, the rice that comes into rice mills as a raw material, which drove prices from $12 per hundredweight in early 2020 to a peak that was over $23 per hundredweight in late May and early June. The higher prices and reduced supplies impacted our ability to operate at Golden Ridge, especially in the back half of the second quarter.”
Revenues from the Golden Ridge Rice Mill in Wynne, Ark., decreased more than 50% in the second quarter when compared to the first quarter due to a shortage of rough rice. RiceBran Technologies also had to pay penalties for unfulfilled customer commitments.
“As we move into the second half of 2020, the current rice crop looks excellent,” Mr. Rystrom said. “Louisiana had completed about 50% of its rice harvest as of last Sunday (Aug. 9), and the crop looks to be large and of high quality. This bodes well for our stabilized rice bran facility in Mermentau, La. The rice harvest will probably start in Arkansas in a few weeks, and the crop there also looks large and of high quality. This should provide significant benefits to Golden Ridge in Arkansas.”
Mr. Rystrom added the economic shutdown due to COVID-19 restrictions slowed new customer development in the second quarter as prospective customers shut down product development and research labs.
For the first six months of the fiscal year, RiceBran Technologies sustained a loss of $6.98 million, which compared with a loss of $6.89 million in the same time of the previous year. Six-month revenues rose 13% to $14.23 million from $12.58 million.