SHARM EL SHEIKH: Russia s top rice producer Razgulay plans a $60 million upgrade of one of its three rice processing plants, company president Igor Potapenko said on Thursday. After the upgrades our Poltavsky plant will be able to process 500 tons of rice per day instead of current 400 tons, Potapenko told Reuters on the fringes of a grains conference in Egypt. The plant, located in the southern Krasnodar region, was acquired by Razgulay in 2000. Razgulay, which processes around 70 percent of rice grown in Russia, raised $144 million in 2006 in Russia s first major agricultural IPO. It is also the country s second-largest sugar beet grower and one of the top grain processors and traders. Razgulay raised processing of rice last year to over 375,000 tons from 133,000 in 2005. Of this only 90,000 tons came from Razgulay s fields. But Potapenko said the company intended to increase the sowing area. We currently grow rice on more than 20,000 hectares, which we either own directly or rent. But we want to increase this acreage to 30,000 hectares. We would like to control some 30 per cent of the 110,000 hectares of rice fields in the Krasnodar region. Razgulay is developing a new brand to market its products. We have registered a trade mark Divnitsa, under which we intend to sell our rice…But we may also create other brands, Potapenko said. The company expects its revenues to rise to $1 billion in 2007. Razgulay estimated 2006 net profits would reach 600 million roubles ($23.08 million). Audited results will be released in July. Razgulay s unaudited revenues rose 12 percent to 22 billion roubles ($846.1 million) in 2006 and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization rose to 2.9 billion roubles from 2.3 billion a year earlier.