USA — Riviana Foods Inc., a subsidiary of Spain-based Ebro Foods S.A., has agreed to acquire the assets of InHarvest, Inc., in an effort to expand its footprint in the United States. 

InHarvest specializes in the production, marketing and sale of premium specialty rice, quinoa and grains for the foodservice, industrial and retail sectors.  

The Bemidji, Minnesota-headquarted company employs approximately 140 staff and generated sales of approximately US$50.3 million in 2020. 

The deal valued at US$48.75 million includes two production facilities in Colusa and Woodland, California which are strategically located in the rice-growing area of the Western United States. 

“The acquisition of the InHarvest business is an excellent fit and consistent with our strategic plan to expand our position in the specialty value-added rice, quinoa and grains markets,” said Enrique Zaragoza, president and chief executive officer of Riviana.  

“We are excited about this expansion as we also look forward to welcoming InHarvest’s employees to the Riviana team.” 

Riviana Foods’ parent Ebro Foods said one of the reasons that it acquired the company was because it would be easy to integrate within the Riviana business. 

Ebro Group also hopes to leverage InHarvest’s facilities to expand its own supply chain, plant network, and packaging and production capacity in the United States. 

Third, the addition of InHarvest would provide access to business platforms on which Riviana does not currently have a significant presence, including food service and the military channel, Ebro said.  

Finally, the value-added goods produced by InHarvest would be included within Riviana’s product portfolio. 

Ebro’s planned takeover of InHarvest – the deal is expected to close in April – follows disposals of pasta assets in the US over the last two years. 

Last year, Ebro sold its Ronzoni pasta brand to US food manufacturer 8th Avenue Food & Provisions. 

In 2020, the company sold a clutch of other pasta assets in the US, including the Prince, Creamette and Skinner brands, to local group TreeHouse Foods. 

 It also offloaded its Catelli dried pasta business in Canada to Italian counterpart Barilla. 

Meanwhile, Ebro Foods has reported a 24% profit jump in 2021 thanks to asset sales but it foresees harder times ahead droughts and rising energy prices raise cost of inputs. 

The owner of brands such as Tilda rice and Garofalo pasta said its net profit rose to €238.6 million ($267.49 million) last year, when the group sold its pasta unit Panzani to focus on premium and fresh products. 

Liked this article? Subscribe to Food Business Africa News, our regular email newsletters with the latest news insights from Africa and the World’s food and agro industry. SUBSCRIBE HERE