Wilmar will use RiceBran’s proprietary intellectual property to stabilise and process rice bran, and call on the American company’s recent research and development on the extraction and concentration of protein from the milling byproduct.
Under the terms of the agreement, Wilmar has acquired certain rights and interests to use and develop the intellectual property for commercial purposes across China.
Wilmar will also purchase two of RiceBran’s proprietary rice bran stabilisation extruders. RiceBran will use the income from the deal to repay development costs; in addition, the company will have co-investment rights to purchase up to a 45% equity interest of any business established by Wilmar in China as a vehicle to generate business from the deal.
"The partnership will help us accelerate the conversion of rice bran—an underused, renewable and sustainable resource—into high-quality, nutritional ingredients for the food industry in China," said W. John Short, RiceBran Technologies’ chief executive.
Room for growth
Accounting for around one-third of the world’s rice production, China's annual output currently runs at about 185m tonnes, of which approximately 15m tons of raw rice bran is produced annually as a byproduct of rice milling.
At present, just 10% of raw rice bran production goes to rice bran oil for human food applications. The remaining rice bran is used as animal feed.
RiceBran Technologies' stabilisation and protein extraction IP will support greater conversion of rice bran into high quality animal nutrition, human food, functional foods and nutraceutical applications, the company said.