«® Ricegrowers’ Co-operative Limited trading as SunRice ABN 55 007 481 156 The rice growing family spans many generations TABLE OF CONTENTS Who We ...»
ANNUAL REPORT 2005
Delivering the SunRice Vision
Ricegrowers’ Co-operative Limited
trading as SunRice ABN 55 007 481 156
The rice growing family spans many generations
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Who We Are 02
Business Highlights 03
Chairman’s Report 04
CEO’S Report 08 SunRice Around the World 11 Australia and New Zealand 11 Asia 11 The Pacific 12 The Middle East 12 Our Operations 14 Our People 16 Our Growers 18 Our Subsidiaries 20 Riviana Foods 20 Trukai 21 Coprice Feeds 22 Our Community 23 Our Innovation 24 Our Environment 26 Board of Directors 28 Corporate Management Team 30 Corporate Governance 32 * * * * Licenced in Australia
WHO WE AREOur Mission SunRice is committed to optimising returns to Australia’s rice growing industry through effective global marketing of quality rice products and developing innovations which enhance the long-term viability, efficiency and competitiveness of our business.
Our Profile SunRice is one of Australia’s largest exporters of branded food products and the fifth-largest rice food company in the world. The company exports an average of 80 per cent of Australia’s total annual rice production to more than 60 countries.
On behalf of rice growers, SunRice sells the majority of Australia’s rice crop to domestic and international customers. In a normal crop year the company generates average annual revenue of approximately A$800 million, which includes nearly A$500 million from value-added exports.
SunRice is the flagship brand and trading name of Ricegrowers’ Co-operative Limited, which is situated in regional NSW and wholly owned by approximately 1,740 members of the Australian rice growing community. SunRice creates jobs in more than 60 regional towns, mostly located in southern NSW, and our businesses help sustain many other regional communities.
SunRice also has strategically located marketing offices and subsidiaries in Australia, Japan, Jordan, Papua New Guinea, Singapore and the Solomon Islands.
Our Vision: To be the World’s Favourite Rice Food Company
Our Strategic Response
Strategic initiatives that contributed to our success this year included:
● procuring additional water from Snowy Hydro Limited for rice production
“SunRice performed strongly thanks to the ongoing, solid and disciplined implementation of targeted strategies” To increase rice production we have continued our Water Procurement Program, which was first established in 2002. During 2004/05, this program included a Groundwater Incentive Program that involved SunRice providing a financial incentive for those growers with groundwater pumps to use their water to grow rice.
The program also involved SunRice, together with Murray Irrigation, borrowing additional water from Snowy Hydro Limited for rice production in the Murray Valley.
The additional production resulting from these programs was vital to SunRice. It enabled us to maintain our brands on supermarket shelves, maintain our infrastructure and assisted growers to operate their farm businesses through difficult conditions.
Integral to our success this year was the continuation of a global sourcing program – an initiative that allowed us to successfully trade rice grown in other countries. I cannot overemphasise the importance of our global trading activity; it allowed us to overcome the shortfall in Australian production and contributed over $45 per tonne towards the 2004 grower return.
04 CHAIRMAN’S REPORT
We have continued to review and restructure our business to meet the challenges of our markets and environment. Reduced crops have resulted in the need to scale down operations across the business. Regrettably, this meant SunRice was forced to retrench good people. These were tough decisions that were not taken lightly. We have ensured that the infrastructure and the core skills base have been maintained to help us rebound into full operation when rice production improves.
The unwavering commitment by the Board and management to proactively address the challenges of this year’s climate has guaranteed our success. We can all remain confident that we are capable of overcoming adversity and delivering solid results for the business and growers.
The Industry Australia’s rice industry traditionally feeds approximately 40 million people internationally each day.
However, as a result of the ongoing drought, our capacity to provide Australia’s high-quality rice, both domestically and internationally has been halved.
We are confident that the drought will not last forever and that our position on the world stage as the most efficient rice growers will mean we will continue to feed a significant number of people around the world.
Our Structure Later this year members will be asked to vote on a proposal to change the structure of the business from a Co-operative to a Company. As a corporate entity, SunRice will have a platform from which to grow and strengthen it’s business for the future.
The Board believes that as a company it will be able to better recognise the contributions of past and present members. It also addresses SunRice’s need for a more secure capital base to enhance its financial flexibility in order to deliver the vision of becoming the World’s Favourite Rice Food Company.
A Tribute to Ian Davidge AO Special tribute must go to one of the rice industry’s greatest pioneers, Mr Ian Davidge, who passed away after a period of illness late last year. Ian’s dedication and contribution to the Australian rice industry was immense. He brought a unique combination of leadership skills, incredible intellectual capacity, commitment, integrity and compassion to the industry and the broader rural community.
Ian’s service included 36 years as a Director of Ricegrowers’ Co-operative Ltd (RCL), including a remarkable 22 years as Chairman.
Sincere Appreciation My special thanks and gratitude go to our extraordinary Chief Executive Officer Gary Helou, the SunRice management team and all SunRice employees for their commitment to excellence. I would like to thank other rice industry leaders, notably Noel Graham, Chairman of the Rice Marketing Board, and Laurie Arthur, President of the Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia Inc., for their significant contribution to the industry over the past year.
I would also like to recognise Grant Latta, Director of SunRice, who became a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).
The support of Kay Hull MP (Federal Member for Riverina), Sussan Ley MP (Federal Member for Farrer), Adrian Piccoli MLA (NSW Member for Murrumbidgee), Peter Black MLA (NSW Member for Murray Darling) and Antonio (Tony), Catanzariti MLC is greatly appreciated.
Thanks goes to Warren Truss, Federal Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, for granting Exceptional Circumstances to our Australian rice growers in the Murray Valley who are enduring hardship as a result of the continuing drought. Thank you to retired Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson, who has worked tirelessly on the issue of water reform, particularly with NSW Minister Craig Knowles. Thank you to Ian Macdonald, NSW Minister for Agriculture, for his support and public recognition of the importance of our industry. Congratulations to Mark Vaile, the Federal Trade Minister in his new appointment as Deputy Prime Minister.
I commend Terry Charlton, CEO of Snowy Hydro Limited, for making more water available for our growers. My sincere thanks also to Dick Thompson, Chairman of Murrumbidgee Irrigation and Bill Hetherington, Chairman of Murray Irrigation Limited.
And, of course we could not have achieved what we have this year without our totally dedicated Deputy Chairman, Mark Robertson and all the SunRice Directors - my sincere appreciation to all.
Our Future Australia’s rice industry supports regional towns, communities, businesses and families and feeds millions of people worldwide.
“The unwavering commitment by the Board and management to proactively address the challenges of this year’s climate has guaranteed our success” While difficult times may continue as we move towards the planting of the next crop, we must remember our achievements and look towards the future with optimism and recognition that we are producing a valuable product and continually evolving to become a better SunRice business.
I look forward to working with you in 2005/06 to help ensure it will be a prosperous year.
Operating Excellence Our Operations Team, faced with the challenge of reduced paddy rice to process, continued to deliver ‘operational excellence’ by reconfiguring infrastructure and delivering cost cuts without sacrificing quality standards and food safety. The rapid escalation in traded rice volume has also been supported by significant alterations to our global supply chain that supports quality assurance, off-shore packing and a more complex distribution network.
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER’SREPORT The Leeton based ‘ultra-convenience meals’ and rice cake plants have been further expanded to meet increasing consumer demand for our ready-to-eat products. SunRice continues to take a leading position in these important value-added categories.
The focus on safety was maintained throughout the business. It is pleasing to report that two mill sites have continued their lost time injury free status during the year.
Quality is paramount across all areas of SunRice’s operations as it underpins our ability to deliver superior products at premium prices. SunRice received major recognition for its efforts in quality management by winning the ‘multi-site low risk category’ at the Australian Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) annual awards.
Value-added Innovations Innovation is vital to SunRice’s ongoing success and its ability to continue to meet the demands of ever-changing markets.
SunRice executed many new product initiatives in 2004. Of particular note was the new range of Flavoured Rice Cakes, as well as extensions to both the SunCreations ‘ready-to-eat’ range and the Pour and Store range. The innovative Pour and Store packaging concept has also now been released into the Food Service channel.
Following the successful launch of SunCreations in 2004, a new ‘rice and protein’ range will be launched in 2005 in Australasia. SunRice will be the first company to successfully market the ‘rice and protein’ concept in the rapidly evolving ready-to-eat meal category.
Focus on People SunRice employees responded admirably to the challenges posed by the ongoing drought, through their collective effort to lower costs and deliver value in difficult times.
We encourage a culture of leadership and reward excellence. As part of the 2004 SunRice Employee Awards, 111 individual nominations and 44 team nominations were recognised for achievement. Congratulations to all site finalists, including the overall winner Frank Zumbo who was recognised for his critical involvement in staging the ‘World’s Biggest Risotto’ promotion. This major event involved heating a 10 x 3.5-metre pan of risotto and attracted considerable international attention to SunRice during the International Year of Rice.
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Australia and New Zealand Product expansion and trading strategies helped the Australian business deliver a strong result for the year.
SunRice’s retail market share grew in both Australia and New Zealand, despite increasing competition from imports, rising domestic prices, and the rapid growth of generics.
The Retail business successfully launched a number of initiatives, including the rollout of Pour and Store extensions, SunCreations and Flavoured Thin Rice Cakes. SunRice has grown its representation within these categories, including the achievement of full distribution of all value-added initiatives throughout New Zealand.
SunRice continues to hold a leadership position in the expanding food service channel. We also retained a solid position in the Food Ingredients market by building alliances with major food manufacturers in Australia and New Zealand. The continued growth of rice based foods, including snacking products, makes this channel an important SunRice business sector.
Asia Hong Kong is a traditional consumer market for SunRice, with efforts continuing to maintain maximum branded presence.
Our position in the medium grain rice category remains strong, with the Double Ram brand entrenched as the leader in its varietal class.
Kangaroo and Golden Crown, both well regarded brands of long grain rice, conceded some market share as a result of reduced availability of the Australian produced and well favoured Langi variety.
Given the drought related restrictions on the overall availability of Australian grown rice, SunRice has focussed its marketing efforts in numerous smaller Asian markets behind medium grain rice. It is pleasing to report that both the Kangaroo and Sunwhite brands continue to perform strongly in the region.
The value of the Federal Government’s bilateral trade negotiations was highlighted when the AustraliaThailand Free Trade Agreement came into force on 1 January 2005. The removal of a 30 per cent import tariff has paved the way for the establishment of a new market. SunRice will continue to work on expanding this profitable niche business with the world’s largest exporter of rice.
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