FinancialBuzz.com News Commentary
NEW YORK, July 17, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Currently, there are only two countries that have legalized cannabis entirely: Uruguay and Canada. Notably, Canada is the first and only G-7 to have legalized cannabis entirely. However, the remaining G-7 nations, with the exception of Japan, have all implemented some sort of a medical cannabis program. And while Japan has not implemented a medical cannabis program, the country has approved the clinical study of Epidiolex, a CBD-based drug to treat epilepsy common among children. Overall, the medical cannabis market is having a significant global impact, largely due to countries such as Australia, Germany, and Israel. Moreover, the cannabis market is beginning to gain influence on the Asian markets. Following Thailand's legalization of medicinal cannabis in February, some industry experts believe that other Southeast Asian countries are also expected to either legalize or decriminalize the plant. However, most Asian countries have established severe punishments for the possession, distribution, and consumption of cannabis. On the other hand, South Korea is one of the leading Asian countries within the marketspace as last year, South Korea approved the use of cannabis for specific medical applications. While the death penalty is still in place for those who violate drug laws in South Korea, the legalization of medical cannabis highlights the impact cannabis is having globally. As studies continue to undermine the stereotypes revolving around the plant, countries are expected to continue to soften their views regarding the plant. Furthermore, as more positive data flows in from researches, more countries will begin to adopt cannabis for medical applications. And as a result, the global cannabis market is projected to grow from USD 10.3 Billion in 2018 to USD 39.4 Billion by 2023, according to data compiled by MarketsAndMarkets. Furthermore, the market is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 30.7% during the forecast period. Canopy Rivers Inc. (OTC: CNPOF) (TSX-V: RIV), Canopy Growth Corporation (NYSE: CGC) (TSX: WEED), Aphria Inc. (NYSE: APHA) (TSX: APHA), Organigram Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: OGI) (TSX-V: OGI), TerrAscend Corp. (OTCQX: TRSSF) (CSE: TER)
In particular, many nations are leveraging the CBD compound found within the cannabis plant and THC is having a greater effect in regions where recreational cannabis is legalized such as the U.S. and Canada. CBD is the non-psychoactive compound found within the cannabis plant, while THC is its psychoactive sibling. While the two compounds differ in their biological makeup, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction noted that the two are both being applied in the medical field, however, with a goal to treat different symptoms. For instance, CBD can be used to alleviate conditions such as acne, anxiety, pain, epilepsy, and muscle spasms. Meanwhile, THC has been reportedly used to treat more severe conditions and small-scale studies have used THC on patients suffering from a wide range of conditions such as psychiatric conditions, autoimmune diseases, inflammation, and mixed syndromes, according to Cannabinoid Medicines, an international association for cannabis-based medicines. While cannabis is primarily being used for medical purposes, it is important to note that the industry has a vibrant recreational faction despite its size. Predominantly, the U.S. is the biggest growth driver for the recreational side, even though the country has not yet federally legalized the plant, and states have acted on their own with legalization. Now, U.S. states such as California, Colorado, Washington, and Nevada collectively deliver billions of dollars in cannabis revenue annually and the cannabis market is expected to become an explosive global industry. By 2030, Anat Baron, Chief Executive Officer or Stashwall, said at MJBizConNEXT convention that cannabis will become a part of consumers' daily lives. "Will it be an aisle, like gluten free at Whole Foods? Or will there be cannabis products on every aisle next to every product?" Baron asked attendees, according to Marijuana Business Daily. "Really, think about it not as something that is adjacent but as something that is mainstream and is a part of everything."
Canopy Rivers Inc. (OTC: CNPOF) (TSX-V: RIV) is also listed on the TSX Venture Exchange under the ticker (TSX-V: RIV). Yesterday, the Company released, "its financial results for the three and twelve months ended March 31, 2019. The Company's audited consolidated financial statements for the twelve months ended March 31, 2019, and its full Management's Discussion and Analysis (the "MD&A") for the three and twelve months ended March 31, 2019, are available under the Company's profile on the System for Electronic Document Analysis and Retrieval ("SEDAR") at www.sedar.com and on the Company's website at www.canopyrivers.com/financials. All financial information in this press release is reported in Canadian dollars, unless otherwise indicated.
'It was a year full of milestones and significant achievements for Canopy Rivers,' said Narbe Alexandrian, President and Chief Executive Officer of Canopy Rivers. 'Anchored by our go public transaction and listing on the TSX Venture Exchange, eight new investments, and landmark transactions for certain portfolio companies, we have strategically positioned ourselves as an accelerator of growth for companies that we believe are situated to be leaders in the cannabis industry. We are excited for the future as we continue to discover, evaluate, and invest in ways that expand our footprint into new channels and markets globally, ultimately creating value for our shareholders,' continued Alexandrian. 'With positive global sentiment towards cannabis on the rise, and Canada's legalization of edibles, extracts, and topicals coming into force in the fall, we are optimistic about the growth potential of the cannabis industry in the coming years.'
"With more than $195 million in gross proceeds raised from equity financings and more than $115 million of capital deployed into new and existing investments over fiscal 2019, we continue to position ourselves as leading allocators of capital in this new and emerging global industry," said Eddie Lucarelli, Chief Financial Officer of Canopy Rivers. "This past fiscal year represented a period of significant capacity build-out and operational investment at our portfolio companies. We are excited to see our partners complete their build-out activities over the next few quarters, allowing their underlying businesses to scale and accelerate their individual paths towards the generation of meaningful EBITDA across the Company's ecosystem."
Fourth Quarter 2019 Corporate and Portfolio Highlights:
Over the last year, the cannabis industry has continued to evolve, as regulators around the world continue to discuss the benefits of cannabis legalization, sparking interest from large traditional corporate entities and institutional investors alike. The Company expects that, as larger investors enter the sector, cannabis companies will gain more traction, leading to higher valuations and further increasing institutional investor appetite. With public perception around cannabis use shifting and an increasing addressable consumer base, cannabis consumption and demand are exhibiting steady growth. This is creating a global market with potential for operators across dozens of sectors that go beyond traditional plant-touching verticals. Management has observed that operators in the cannabis industry are turning their attention towards the cannabis beverage market, cannabidiol ("CBD"), building brands, and using data to make more informed business decisions.
In particular, in Canada and the United States, fiscal 2019 saw a move away from cultivation assets towards ancillary cannabis businesses and brands. Ancillary businesses provide products and services related to the broader cannabis economy. These businesses are subject to fewer rules and regulations, and, in management's experience, have historically been easier and less expensive to scale. Cannabis brands are also gaining momentum. Canopy Rivers anticipates that, as cannabis moves from being a product to an ingredient, brands will begin to dominate the industry. Typically, trusted brand products offer stable and reliable user experiences that, in turn, drive customer loyalty and command higher margins.
The cannabis industry is still in its infancy relative to how big the market is expected to become. The combined market capitalization of the three largest public companies in each of the tobacco, pharma, beverage and spirits industries is approximately US$200-600 billion. In comparison, the three largest public companies in cannabis currently have a combined market capitalization of US$40 billion, fueling management's belief that there continues to be a large opportunity for growth in the cannabis sector.
Among these positive regulatory shifts and emerging trends, Canopy Rivers and its portfolio companies reported several significant milestones during the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2019:
- PharmHouse Inc. ("PharmHouse") secured an $80 million syndicated credit facility, led by the Bank of Montrealand Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, to fund necessary project equipment and construction costs at a rate of interest that is expected to average in the mid-to-high 5% per annum range over its three-year term.
- Canopy Rivers completed a $9 million convertible debenture investment in 10831425 Canada Ltd. d/b/a/ Greenhouse Juice Company ("Greenhouse Juice"), a dynamic plant-based food and beverage company that intends to expand its business model to focus on developing natural health and wellness beverages infused with full-spectrum CBD extracts, pure CBD isolates, and other non-psychoactive cannabinoids.
- Canapar SrL, a subsidiary of portfolio company Canapar Corp. ("Canapar"), announced the commencement of construction on a new CBD extraction and processing facility in Sicily, Italy, that is expected to be completed by the end of 2019. Once completed, management anticipates that this facility will be the largest in Europe and believes that the facility will be capable of processing 600 metric tons of hemp biomass annually into CBD isolates and derivative products for distribution in the European market. Also, during the quarter, Canopy Rivers announced it had completed a $9.4 million equity investment in Canapar. The investment represented the second tranche of the $17.4 million investment commitment made in December 2018 and increased Canopy Rivers' ownership position in Canapar to 49% on a non-diluted basis.
- TerrAscend Corp. ("TerrAscend") (CSE: TER;OTCQX: TRSSF) completed its acquisition of substantially all of the assets of Grander Distribution, LLC (subsequently renamed "Arise Bioscience Inc."), a leader in the development, manufacture and distribution of innovative hemp-derived products.
- Canopy Rivers completed a $1.5 million equity investment in 10663522 Canada Inc. d/b/a Herbert, a unique brand platform that will focus on the adult-use cannabis beverage and edibles market through anticipated commercial relationships with Greenhouse Juice.
- Canopy Rivers closed a bought deal prospectus offering of 13,225,000 subordinated voting shares at a price of $4.80 per share. Concurrent with this offering, Canopy Growth Corporation ("Canopy Growth") (TSX:WEED,NYSE:CGC) purchased 6,250,000 subordinated voting shares on a private placement basis, also at a price of $4.80 per share, increasing its ownership interest in Canopy Rivers to approximately 27.1% of the issued and outstanding shares (including all subordinated voting shares and multiple voting shares) of Canopy Rivers on a non-diluted basis. The aggregate gross proceeds to Canopy Rivers was approximately $93.5 million.
- Headset, Inc. ("Headset") formed a strategic alliance with Nielsen Holdings plc ("Nielsen") to provide U.S. cannabis market data and analytics to consumer-packaged goods companies monitoring the cannabis industry. Headset also entered an additional strategic alliance with Nielsen and Deloitte LLP to provide data-driven insights related to federally regulated cannabis consumption and sales in Canada.
- Canopy Rivers completed a US$2 million equity investment in Leaflink Services International ULC ("Leaflink International"), a joint venture with LeafLink, Inc. ("LeafLink"). Leaflink International brings LeafLink's dominant business-to-business marketplace and supply chain technology platform to regulated cannabis markets outside of the U.S.
- Spot Therapeutics Inc. received a cultivation licence from Health Canada for its Fredericton-based production and distribution facility. The receipt of the license represented a triggering event for Canopy Rivers in the form of a 25-year cash flow stream that is anticipated to be approximately $2.9 million per year and is expected to begin in September 2019.
- James E. Wagner Cultivation Corporation ("JWC") (TSXV: JWCA,OTCQX: JWCAF) received a cultivation licence from Health Canada for approximately 22,000 square feet of its second facility in Kitchener, Ontario, which at full scale will be a 345,000 square foot commercial production and distribution complex. JWC also capitalized on its proprietary technology, GrowthSTORM™, by licensing the system to Wellness Farms Inc. for use in the cultivation of cannabis plants.
- Civilized Worldwide Inc. ("Civilized") entered into several new partnerships with strong brand partners, including: (i) Insight Productions, a Canadian production company; and (ii) Cannabis Club TV (CCTV), an in-dispensary television network. These partnerships are aimed at developing and distributing original digital content. Civilized also acquired The 420 Games and rebranded the event as the Civilized Games.
Subsequent Corporate and Portfolio Updates:
To date, Canopy Rivers has made investments in 18 companies, and in doing so has established a diversified portfolio of cannabis and cannabis-related companies. The Company strives to offer strategic support to its portfolio partners, as well as to facilitate synergies within the Canopy Rivers ecosystem. The following represents a brief summary of certain additional milestones achieved by Canopy Rivers and/or its portfolio companies subsequent to the end of the fourth quarter and fiscal year 2019:
- Canopy Rivers appointed Narbe Alexandrian as President and Chief Executive Officer.
- Bruce Linton stepped down as Chairman and Director of Canopy Rivers. John Bell has since been appointed as Chairman of the Board of Directors.
- Canopy Rivers completed a US$2.5 million investment in High Beauty, Inc., creator of industry-leading cannabis beauty brand high. high is formulated using cannabis sativa seed extracts, which are free of psychoactive substances including THC and CBD, in combination with certified organic plant oils, high-potency antioxidants and pure plant essential oils.
- TerrAscend completed several strategic transactions, including the completion of its acquisition of the retail dispensary network known as "The Apothecarium". TerrAscend also received European Union Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certification and announced a sales and distribution agreement with iuvo Therapeutics GmbH, a German pharmaceutical wholesaler with a cannabis-specific import and distribution license for the European Union. TerrAscend successfully completed a $69 million non-brokered private placement and intends to use the proceeds to fund its United States acquisition strategy, working capital and for general corporate purposes. TerrAscend also received an amendment to its licence from Health Canada allowing for the sale of cannabis oils which it will do through its medical marketplace, Solace Health.
- PharmHouse entered into a significant supply agreement with Canopy Growth. The agreement commits an incremental 20% of PharmHouse's flowering space in its 1.3 million square foot modern greenhouse to Canopy Growth over a three-year period. This is in addition to the 10% of capacity that PharmHouse previously committed to Canopy Growth until December 31, 2020.
- Canopy Rivers completed a US$1.5 million investment in BioLumic Ltd., creator of a sustainable ultraviolet light crop yield enhancement technology. The investment marked Canopy Rivers' first in the agriculture technology field.
- Agripharm Corp. received its outdoor cultivation licence from Health Canada and began growing its first outdoor crop at its Creemore, Ontario, location using award winning Green House Seed Co. genetics.
- JWC announced that both of its facilities are at full production capacity. JWC also received a licence amendment from Health Canada allowing for the sale of formulated cannabis oil from JWC's pilot facility.
- Les Serres Vert Cannabis Inc. ("Vert Mirabel"), a portfolio company of Canopy Rivers and a subsidiary of Canopy Growth, received its final cultivation licence from Health Canada. All 700,000 square feet of operating space at Vert Mirabel's greenhouse is now licensed for cannabis production.
- Canopy Rivers completed a US$10 million equity investment in ZeaKal, Inc., a California-based plant science innovator with a novel plant genetics technology called PhotoSeed™ that increases photosynthesis, improves plant yield, and enhances nutritional profiles for a variety of agricultural crops.
- Civilized and ZoomerMedia Limited ("Zoomer") entered into a collaboration agreement to create educational and entertainment cannabis content for distribution through Zoomer's media properties on all platforms, including TV, radio, print, digital, and events. Civilized also hosted its second World Cannabis Congress, a two-day conference designed to initiate conversations around policy, corporate social responsibility, research, and emerging trends in the cannabis industry.
- Solo Growth Corp. changed its name to YSS Corp. ("YSS") (TSXV: YSS). YSS acquired a call right and established a licensing agreement with Sweet Tree Modern Apothecary Ltd ("Sweet Tree"). With the addition of Sweet Tree, YSS now has four licensed-operating retail locations in Alberta. YSS has six more Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission ("AGLC") licensed stores in Alberta, all of which are expected to be open by end of August 2019, two additional retail locations in Alberta that have passed AGLC inspection and a strategic portfolio of under construction, leased and prospective locations.
For more information regarding the Company and its portfolio, please refer to the MD&A and the Company's Annual Information Form, which have been filed with the Canadian securities regulators and are available under the Company's profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.
About Canopy Rivers Inc: Canopy Rivers is a unique investment and operating platform structured to pursue investment opportunities in the emerging global cannabis sector. Canopy Rivers identifies strategic counterparties seeking financial and/or operating support. Canopy Rivers has developed an investment ecosystem of complementary cannabis operating companies that represent various segments of the value chain across the emerging cannabis sector. As the portfolio continues to develop, constituents will be provided with opportunities to work with Canopy Growth and collaborate among themselves, which Canopy Rivers believes will maximize value for its shareholders and foster an environment of innovation, synergy and value creation for the entire ecosystem."
For our latest "Buzz on the Street" Show featuring Canopy Rivers Inc. recent corporate news, please head over to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xjw59P8zKqo
Canopy Growth Corporation (NYSE: CGC) (TSX: WEED) is a world-leading diversified cannabis, hemp and cannabis device company, offering distinct brands and curated cannabis varieties in dried, oil and Softgel capsule forms, as well as medical devices through Canopy Growth's subsidiary, Storz & Bickel GMbH & Co. KG. Canopy Growth Corporation recently announced that it has received a new licence from Health Canada permitting it to grow cannabis at an outdoor site in northern Saskatchewan. Hours after receiving the licence, the first cannabis cuttings were planted at a 7 million sq. ft. (160 acres) secure cultivation field in the province. The new license expands Canopy Growth's diversified Canadian footprint and complements its existing indoor and greenhouse facilities to provide a leading balance of facilities to produce low-cost input materials for value-add products while ensuring more sophisticated growing operations for in-demand flower products. "Our team has outdoor, at-scale cannabis expertise gained from over a decade of hemp farming experience, including Canopy's 4,000-acre hemp operation executed last year, the extract of which is bolstering our CBD supply for the medical and recreational markets," said Mark Zekulin, President and Co-Chief Executive Officer, Canopy Growth. "At this stage in the summer planting season we view this as a pilot and ramp up project for outdoor cannabis cultivation, though the team will do everything it can to deliver low cost yields this year."
Aphria Inc. (NYSE: APHA) (TSX: APHA) is a leading global cannabis company driven by an unrelenting commitment to our people, product quality and innovation. Aphria Inc. recently entered into an exclusive agreement with Toronto-based UNOapp Inc. to collaborate on the development of technology and analytics solutions for Canada's adult-use cannabis industry. Founded in 2010, UNOapp has developed proven technology, marketing and analytical solutions that has enabled more than 4,500 customers across the globe to engage with their customers and drive revenue. As part of the Agreement, UNOapp has granted Aphria a first option to commercialize any platform or solution developed from this collaboration in any international market outside Canada. "With our innovation-focused approach, Aphria is setting the pace for the evolution of the adult-use cannabis industry in Canada," said Jakob Ripshtein, President of Aphria. "Our industry's long-term future will be driven by consumer-centric, innovation-led product, brand and technology solutions. We are excited for this collaboration with a fantastic technology partner in UNOapp and look forward to developing industry-leading solutions that shape the adult-use cannabis market for years to come."
Organigram Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: OGI) (TSX-V: OGI) is a NASDAQ Global Select and TSX Venture Exchange listed company whose wholly owned subsidiary, Organigram Inc., is a licensed producer of cannabis and cannabis-derived products in Canada. Organigram Holdings Inc. recently announces that it had received approval from Health Canada for the licensing of 17 additional cultivation rooms within the Phase 4A/4B perimeter of the building. Thirteen of 31 Phase 4A cultivation rooms originally contemplated have previously been licensed. The 31st room initially contemplated for Phase 4A is being moved from the Company's 4A plans to its 4B licensing plans thereby adjusting Phase 4A from 31 to 30 rooms and Phase 4B from 32 rooms to 33 rooms. As a result of this approval, cannabis plants will be moved into these new cultivation rooms on a rolling basis commencing immediately. The Company anticipates being able to begin to harvest product from these newly on-boarded rooms by the end of September, based on its historical cultivation timelines with the ability to ship dried flower as early as mid-fall of 2019. "Sustainable growth, exceptional quality and constant innovation are the pillars of our overall strategic approach," explains Greg Engel, Chief Executive Officer, Organigram. "We are proud to continue to increase our physical capacity to meet the needs of cannabis consumers across the country while also bringing new thinking and technology to our production."
TerrAscend Corp. (OTCQX: TRSSF) (CSE: TER) provides quality products, brands, and services to the global cannabinoid market. TerrAscend Corp. recently announced that its subsidiary, TerrAscend Canada, had received an amendment to its license from Health Canada to allow it to sell cannabis oils from its EU-GMP certified facility in Mississauga, Ontario. "The addition of oils to our product line enables us to better meet the needs of our patients and customers, who demand safe, standardized products," said Michael Nashat, TerrAscend's Chief Executive Officer. "It also helps us meet the growing demand for non-combustible cannabis products. As with every product, we make our oils with a relentless, pharmaceutical-grade focus on quality, safety and consistency. Today is an important milestone in our journey to be the world's most trusted provider of top quality cannabinoid products."
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