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Growers want answers on SunRice restructure spend

Rice growers request update on SunRice's restructure spendings.

ZOE MCMAUGH August 8, 2014 3:42am

SunRice financial reports show that almost $4 million has been spent on the company’s proposed capital restructure across two years.

Shareholders are now requesting an update from the company, saying communication about the restructure process has been minimal.

Warwick Strong, who has a farm between Deniliquin and Blighty, said growers and other shareholders have a right to know where their money is being spent.

A shareholder meeting on the restructure was held in Deniliquin in April 2013, but Mr Strong said there had been ‘‘very little’’ information since.

‘‘We don’t really know where we’re heading or where our money is going,’’ Mr Strong said.

‘‘It’s been so long since the review started and we have seen so little brought back to us that I almost forgot it was happening.

‘‘The reports show that almost $4 million has already been spent, but for that money what are we seeing?

‘‘It would be good to know, and I’d also like to know how far away it will be before we see any reports.

‘‘Surely two years is long enough for a company like SunRice; it’s about time we hear something about this $4 million spend.’’

The spend to date has been outlined in the SunRice financial report to April 2014, available on the National Stock Exchange of Australia (ASX) website.

It shows the company spent $2.84 million on capital restructuring costs in the 12 months to April 2014 and $1.119 million the previous year.

SunRice announced the review, which includes looking at the potential to list the company on the ASX, at its annual general meeting in August 2012.

SunRice chairman Gerry Lawson admitted the review, being conducted by Macquarie, was taking longer than expected.

‘‘The SunRice Board has been engaged in a rigorous and comprehensive process to review SunRice’s capital structure and develop a model for the future that underpins our company’s continued growth by providing access to funding, while preserving A Class shareholder control and enhancing the value and liquidity of B Class shares,’’ Mr Lawson said.

‘‘The board has continued to make progress, including working to achieve in-principle approval from relevant regulatory bodies.

‘‘The focus is very much on delivering the right model for our business, one that enables ongoing grower control while meeting the other important shareholder requirements.

‘‘Given our unique circumstances, charting the way forward has taken longer than anticipated, however, given the complexity and unique requirements, it is important to get it right.

‘‘As we have advised previously, we intend to go back to shareholders next when further information is available.

‘‘The investment to date reflects the thorough and comprehensive approach we have taken and the significant work completed on a model unique to SunRice.’’

Financial statements will be discussed further at the SunRice annual general meeting in Jerilderie on August 22.

~ Zoe McMaugh

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