Riviana Foods Builds Ready to Serve Rice Plant in Memphis

Dec 07, 2010, 09:00 ET from Riviana Foods Inc.

HOUSTON, Dec. 7, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Riviana Foods Inc. announced today that it is building a new facility in Memphis, Tennessee, that will produce ready to serve, microwaveable rice products under the Minute® rice brand.

The Memphis and Shelby County Industrial Development Board recently granted the Company a seven-year tax break or payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) on this latest expansion project.

The ready to serve rice plant will be integrated into Riviana's state-of-the-art processing and packaging plant in Memphis, a 400,000-square-foot facility at 2314 S. Lauderdale, which began operation in the first quarter of this year.  Riviana is in the process of consolidating operations from its Houston and former Memphis plants to the new facility.  That transition is expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2011.

Commercial production at the ready to serve plant is expected to begin in mid-2011.  Initially, this activity will provide an additional 22 jobs; further growth is expected in the following years.  The building which will house the ready to serve production can accommodate a four-fold increase in capacity.

According to Bastiaan de Zeeuw, Riviana's President and Chief Executive Officer, the new plant is being developed in response to double-digit growth in sales of Minute Ready to Serve rice products in every year since their launch in 2006.  "Since its introduction, we have sourced this range of product through our parent company, Ebro Foods, S.A., in Spain while we evaluated market response," he said. "This investment will result in substantial savings in both freight and import duties."

Consumers have found Minute Ready to Serve rice to be a nutritious side dish that offers both portability and portion control.  Ready to eat in just 60 seconds, it is currently available in seven different varieties and additional line extensions are planned.

The ready to serve rice plant will continue Riviana's large-scale expansion in Memphis, which began in October 2006 with the purchase of approximately 31 acres of land on South Lauderdale.  The Company had previously been granted a 12-year PILOT incentive for its investment to acquire the property and construct and equip the processing and packaging facility.

With the expansion, Riviana has grown its Memphis workforce from 179 employees in October 2006 to current employment of 249.  Riviana has hired most of its new employees from the Memphis Area Career Center.

Based in Houston, Texas, Riviana Foods Inc. is one of the largest processors, marketers and distributors of branded and private label rice products in the U.S.  Its principal brands include Mahatma®, Carolina®, Success®, Minute® and Gourmet House®. The Company has been the industry leader in marketing and processing of consumer rice products since 1911.

Riviana Foods is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ebro Foods, S.A., the leading Spanish food group, with interests in rice and pasta products.  It is the world leader in the rice sector and is the world's number two pasta manufacturer. Ebro's other subsidiary in the U.S., New World Pasta Company, offers such well-known brands as Healthy Harvest®, Ronzoni®, San Giorgio®, Creamette®, American Beauty®, Skinner®, Prince®, Catelli® and Lancia®.

SOURCE Riviana Foods Inc.