NutraCea announces sale of real estate, debt repayment

by World Grain Staff
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PHOENIX, ARIZONA, U.S. — NutraCea, a world leader in production and utilization of stabilized rice bran, announced on Sept. 16 that NutraPhoenix, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of NutraCea, sold its real property with all improvements thereon located at 4502 W. Monterosa Street in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., to David Turner International, LLC for $4.5 million.

W. John Short, chairman and chief executive officer of NutraCea, said, "We are extremely pleased to have completed the sale of this non-core property. The Phoenix facility was the last major asset related to the infant cereal business sold to Kerry Ingredients earlier this year. Its sale represents another important step in our plan to monetize non-core assets in order to pay secured and unsecured creditor obligations as part of NutraCea’s efforts to exit bankruptcy on or before the Nov. 30, target date set out in our pending Plan of Reorganization as amended and filed with the bankruptcy court on Aug. 10 (the amended plan).

"Consistent with the 100% creditor payout commitment described in the amended plan, the proceeds from this sale have allowed NutraCea to pay in full the remaining balance due to the secured lender of approximately $1.8 million, bringing total payments to Wells Fargo Capital Finance to over $4.8 million since filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition on Nov. 11, 2009.

"In addition to paying Wells Fargo Capital Finance, proceeds of approximately $1.4 million from the sale have been used to repay all principal, interest and legal expenses related to a number of mechanics' liens attached to the Phoenix facility, along with property taxes and closing costs related to this transaction. Resolving these matters has eliminated ongoing debt service and maintenance costs related to the property and will free up a significant amount of management time that can now be directed towards our core businesses. The remaining net sale proceeds will be used to provide funding for our exit from bankruptcy on or before Nov. 30 and reduce unsecured creditor obligations, collectively totaling $1.3 million.

"The sale of the Phoenix facility is another major milestone on the road to successful emergence from bankruptcy. I want to offer special thanks to our employees who have continuously done double and triple duty to complete this transaction and reposition NutraCea for success as we prepare for operations in a post-bankruptcy environment."

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