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SunRice vote delay

By Country News

SunRice will delay its company restructure vote because of delays with the administration process.

The capital restructure vote will determine whether SunRice is listed on the ASX instead of the second-tier National Stock Exchange.

The company announced its intention to vote on the proposal in October last year and has been developing detailed documentation on the capital restructure in consultation with corporate and industry regulators and other stakeholders since then.

However, more than two weeks ago shareholders were informed that the scheduled vote date, March 16, would be delayed because this process was ‘‘taking longer than anticipated’’.

SunRice chairman Laurie Arthur said shareholders would be advised of the rescheduled date for the capital restructure vote as soon as the company confirmed a revised timeframe to complete the process and said the decision would take into consideration the priorities of rice growers.

‘‘We are mindful some of our A-Class shareholders will be harvesting during April and will of course take this into account in developing the new timetable,’’ Mr Arthur said in a letter to shareholders.

‘‘The board remains firmly of the view that the capital restructure is in the best interests of both A and B-Class shareholders and SunRice.’’

The listing would allow B-Class shares to be sold to a wider market, but the company maintained there would be no change to A-Class shares (which can only be held by active growers).

SunRice’s Board of Directors was in full support of the restructure ‘‘following strong support from both A and B-Class shareholders,’’ said a company statement.

When the proposal was announced last year, Country News spoke to Wakool rice grower Mark Martin, who said while he was not opposed to the restructure, he had concerns that it would not deliver more value to growers.

‘‘The restructure is probably a good thing if we want to get some investment back into the industry... but on the production side I am dubious of whether it’ll put us where we need to be in terms of remaining competitive regarding return per megalitre,’’ Mr Martin said.

■Laurie Arthur can be reached at larthur@sunrice.com.au or on (02) 69530404.