US-based rice bran manufacturer NutraCea has seen sales and earnings leap during the first six months of its fiscal year.

The Phoenix-based firm said yesterday (14 August) that net profit had reached U$1.8m for the period to 30 June, compared to $166,000 a year earlier.

The leap in earnings came as sales soared by 89% to around $15m as the company boosted capacity to meet rising demand.

"In the past year we have increased our capacity from less that ten thousand tons annually to over 40,000 with expectations of reaching 80,000 tons during first quarter of 2008," said CEO Bradley Edson.

"The estimated global demand still far exceeds our current production capacity and we will endeavor to meet that demand as quickly as possible."

In May, NutraCea has secured a contract to supply one of the top five US grocers with cereal products. The company said the deal means it will supply the unnamed grocer with a whole grain rice cereal and other line extensions. The move comes as NutraCea looks to expand its private-label production.