SunRice expands Riviana's food import range spending $50m on KJ&Co

SunRice buys KJ&Co Brands for $50m to beef up food import range

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SunRice Group says its latest acquisition aligns with its growth strategy goal for 2022

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SunRice Group is to pay $50 million for a diverse range of bread, pastry and dessert product lines in the KJ&Co Brands portfolio.

The KJ&Co import business will be absorbed into SunRice's Riviana Foods subsidiary, significantly expanding Riviana's current entertainment snack and food service sector product range.

SunRice Group managing director Rob Gordon said the acquisition aligned well with the national rice marketer's 2022 growth strategy goals, complementing Riviana's existing products which range from imported rice and pasta, to antipasto, canned fruit and condiments.

Sydney-based KJ&Co's brands sell through Coles and Woolworths supermarkets and other retailers, including in New Zealand, and generated about $59m in gross revenue last financial year.

"The acquisition supports the strategy of Riviana Foods to build greater share of the 'special occasions' category, and to leverage its sales, supply chain and procurement capabilities," Mr Gordon said.

"It will further diversify Riviana Foods' presence across new categories within the Australian retail market.

"KJ&Co Brands experienced strong revenue growth and increase of market share across key categories in recent years, and we believe there is potential to continue that growth."

He said SunRice would focus on leveraging its strong balance sheet to pursue more value-accretive merger opportunities, particularly within its Riviana Foods and CopRice stockfeed segments.

The plan was to further diversify group earnings and growth.

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The KJ&Co purchase, due to be wrapped up this month, was expected to be earnings per share accretive within its first full year of SunRice ownership.

Among the big range of products within the KJ&Co Brands portfolio are the Toscano range of European bread, pizza bases, specialty breads and chilled dessert products; Hart&Soul soups, ready meals, recipe bases and side dish products, and Bare Bakers gluten-free snacks and desserts.

Riviana will also pick up several smaller niche brands including Tables and Tales, Two Spoons and Upbeat which specialise in cakes, ice cream and high protein breakfast products.

Riviana Foods is already a leading food importer in Australia with retail brands such as Always Fresh, Roza's Gourmet and Fehlbergs Fine Foods.

It's Riviana Food Service division is also a major supplier to hotels and hospitals, as well as providing food manufacturers with bulk ingredients.

The KJ&Co Brands' management team at Brookvale in northern Sydney, currently led by co-founders David and Lisa Malloy and chief executive officer Charli Walters, will join the SunRice Group as part of the sales deal.

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