Expatica news

Ebro Foods in talks to buy Australia’s SunRice

Shares in Spain’s largest food company, Ebro Foods, closed up nearly seven percent Thursday after it said it was in talks to buy Australia’s dominant rice processor and marketer, Ricegrowers Ltd, for around 425 million euros (592 billion dollars).

Ebro said in a statement late on Wednesday that if Ricegrowers, which trades as SunRice, agrees to its offer, the transaction could be completed in March 2011.

“The acquisition will be subject to the approval of SunRice shareholders and the Australian courts,” it said.

Buying SunRice would give Ebro, the world’s largest rice products company and the second largest pasta products producer, a jumping off point into the Asia-Pacific region.

SunRice sells around 500,000 tonnes of rice per year and has leading positions in its main markets, including New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, Hong Kong, Singapore and the Middle East.

It controls brands such as Riviana, Sunwhite, Sunbrown, Sunlong, Calrose and Mahatma, as well as the Always Fresh label.

Shares in Ebro Foods, closed up 6.67 percent at a yearly high of 15.68 euros, making it the biggest gainer of the benchmark Ibex-35 stock index which closed down 0.04 percent.