SunRice gets closer to ASX listing to fund Asian expansion

Posted by Jack Cain on 30th May 2018

Australian rice products giant SunRice wants to list on the Australian Securities Exchange(ASX) as part of its big plan to tap into Asia’s demand for clean and healthier food.

SunRice plans to raise 20-30 million AUD$ from the ASX float, however it will have to wait for shareholders to approve the plan at the company’s annual general meeting on 20 September 2018

Opportunities from product trends in Asia

SunRice, which sells several eponymous branded products, including table rice, microwavable rice packets and rice snacks, has identified two major trends in Asia that are at the centre of its growth strategy.

Chief executive Rob Gordon says SunRice is an exporter of Japanese-style sushi rice, including to Japan, and there was demand for restaurants across Asia for that type of rice.

The second opportunity is Asia’s demand for healthier snacks and low glycemic (low GI) food that helps keep blood sugar levels more stable.

“Rice eating nations, as they become more affluent, are suffering from the same diseases as the West, including issues like obesity and Type 2 diabetes,” Mr Gordon said.

“We have the lowest GI white rice in the world and we have the opportunity to take this rice to a lot of different nations in various forms and formats.”

SunRice products, including rice cakes and rice chips are already sold in 50 nations across the Pacific, the Middle East and the US.

Mr Gordon said gaining market access in Asian countries was more political and difficult, but the company has already launched its products in Singapore and Hong Kong.

New corporate strategy

SunRice said trading on the ASX would expose the company to investors who are hungry for Australian branded food and agricultural stocks, while retaining A Class grower shareholder control.

However, this is not the first time SunRice has sought to list on the ASX with the group’s rice growing shareholders having blocked the move in 2016.

He said the plan is to build SunRice’s presence in South East Asia and to continue to seek market access in China.

The company wants to fund this growth by delisting from the smaller Sydney based National Stock Exchange to the country’s biggest equity market, the Australian Securities Exchange.