Akanda takes strategic step on journey as ethically sourced African medical cannabis company for international markets
Not for Distribution to U.S. Newswire Services or For Dissemination in the United States
London and Mafeteng, Lesotho, July 30, 2021 – Akanda Corp. (“Akanda” or the “Company”) today announced the engagement of Boustead Securities, LLC (“Boustead”) as Akanda’s exclusive financial advisor to explore financing and acquisition opportunities as it seeks to scale the African cultivation assets it is proposing to acquire from Halo Collective Inc. (“Halo”) (NEO: HALO) (OTCQX: HCANF) (Germany: A9KN) into a leading international medical cannabis company. Boustead Securities is an investment banking firm that advises clients on capital raises, mergers and acquisitions, and restructuring assignments in a wide array of industries and circumstances, including in the cannabis sector.
“The engagement of Boustead represents an important milestone in Akanda’s journey,” commented Tej Virk, CEO, and Director of Akanda. “Together, we will ensure that Akanda has the right structure to successfully deliver on our exciting mission of providing patients with ethically sourced, high quality African medical cannabis from Lesotho to pharmacies and clinics in the U.K., Europe, and beyond.”
Added Kiran Sidhu, CEO and Co-Founder of Halo, “We are delighted that Akanda has partnered with Boustead to help unlock the unrealized value of Akanda. We expect that the outcome of Boustead’s work will create substantial value for all of Halo’s stakeholders.”
“We are excited to assist Akanda with its ultimate goal of becoming a world-class international medical cannabis company,” said Boustead’s Head of Equity Capital Markets, Dan McClory. “After visiting the African base last week, we believe the Company’s seasoned leadership team, low-cost and high-quality operations in Lesotho, and commitment to social welfare have the potential to make it a unique and valuable asset in the emerging global medical cannabis economy.”
In June, Halo announced the proposed reorganization of its non-U.S. medical operations (the “International Reorganization”) into Akanda, to be led by accomplished cannabis and corporate finance and banking industry executive Tej Virk and Halo’s Executive Chairman Louisa Mojela, one of Africa’s most accomplished female entrepreneurs. Akanda is expected to combine the production capabilities of Bophelo Bio Science & Wellness Pty. Ltd. (“Bophelo”), Halo’s scalable 200-hectare Lesotho-based cultivation and processing campus, with distribution and route-to-market through CanMart Ltd. (“CanMart”), Halo’s UK-based fully approved pharmaceutical importer and distributor which supplies pharmacies and clinics within the UK.
Akanda’s mission is to provide high quality and ethically sourced medical cannabis products for patients worldwide by combining award-winning genetic strains from Halo, DNA Genetics, and their partners, with the natural purity and pristine climate of its cultivation operations in Lesotho, Southern Africa. Bophelo is on course to obtain Good Agricultural and Collection Practice compliant status to facilitate exports to international markets including the U.K. and E.U.
Halo expects to provide additional information in respect of the International Reorganization over the coming weeks. Completion of the International Reorganization remains subject to the entering into of definitive documentation, the approval of the Halo board of directors and the receipt of all required regulatory approvals. There can be no certainty that the International Reorganization will be completed on the terms described in this press release or at all.
About Akanda Corp.
Akanda is a recently formed Ontario corporation that was founded in connection with the proposed International Reorganization. Following completion of the International Reorganization, it is anticipated that Akanda will be an international medical cannabis company, cultivating ethically sourced cannabis of the highest quality at scale, leveraging trusted brands, at a low-cost compared to many of its competitors. It is expected that Akanda’s initial portfolio will include key businesses such as Bophelo, Halo’s cultivation and processing campus in the Kingdom of Lesotho in Southern Africa, with distribution and route-to-market through CanMart, Halo’s UK-based fully approved pharmaceutical importer and distributor which supplies pharmacies and clinics within the U.K.
Bophelo operates a campus in the Kingdom of Lesotho focused on the cultivation and production of medical cannabis products for international export. Akanda believes Bophelo to be one of the largest licensed marijuana cultivation sites in the world with up to a maximum of 200 hectares of canopy. Through partnerships and licensing agreements with award-winning seed producers, including DNA Genetics, Bophelo will provide Akanda with a low-cost gateway to the broader African continent and access to international markets. CanMart is one of a limited number of fully approved importers and distributors of medical cannabis products in the U.K. market with supply and distribution to pharmacies and clinics throughout the U.K. CanMart is committed to providing a range of the best possible cannabis-based medicinal products sourced from around the world.
A cornerstone of Akanda’s value system is its fundamental commitment to using its operations as a force for sustainability and social good. Akanda will seek to deliver on this promise by driving positive change in wellness, empowering individuals in Lesotho, and by uplifting the quality of the lives of employees and the local communities where it operates – while limiting its carbon footprint. Adhering to best practice ESG operating and disclosure standards is among Akanda’s highest priorities.
About Halo Collective Inc.
Halo is a leading, vertically integrated cannabis company that cultivates, extracts, manufactures, and distributes quality cannabis flower, oils, and concentrates, and has sold approximately nine million grams of oils and concentrates since inception. The Company continues to expand its business and scale efficiently, partnering with trustworthy leaders in the industry who value Halo’s operational expertise in bringing top-tier products to market.
Halo currently operates in the United States in Oregon and California, Canada, Southern Africa in the Kingdom of Lesotho, and the United Kingdom. The Company sells cannabis products principally to dispensaries in the U.S. under its brands Hush, Mojave, and Exhale, and under license agreements with Papa’s Herb®, DNA Genetics, Terphogz, and FlowerShop*, a cannabis lifestyle and conceptual wellness brand that includes G-Eazy as a partner and key member.
As part of continued expansion and vertical integration in the U.S., Halo boasts several grow operations throughout Oregon and two planned in California. In Oregon, the Company has a combined 11 acres of owned and contracted outdoor cultivation, including East Evans Creek, a six-acre grow site in Jackson County with four licenses owned and operated by Halo and two third-party licenses under contract to sell all of their product to Halo; Winberry Farms, a one-acre grow site located 30 miles outside of Eugene in Lane County with a license owned and operated by Halo; and William’s Wonder Farms, a three-acre grow site in Applegate Valley, under contract to sell all of its product to Halo pending the closing of Halo’s acquisition of its licenses and business assets.
In California, the Company is building out Ukiah Ventures, a planned 30,000 sq. ft. indoor cannabis grow and processing facility, which will include up to an additional five acres of industrial land to expand the site in the near future. Recently, Halo partnered with Green Matter Holding in California to purchase a property in Lake County, developing up to 63 acres of cultivation, comprising one of the largest licensed single site grows in California. Halo also plans to expand its operations in California by opening three dispensaries in North Hollywood, Hollywood, and Westwood, one of which will serve as the first FlowerShop* branded dispensary.
In Canada, Halo acquired three KushBar retail cannabis stores located in Alberta as a first in its planned entry into the Canadian market, leveraging its Oregon and California brands. With the KushBar retail stores as a foundation, the Company plans to expand its foothold in Canada.
Halo has also acquired a range of software development assets, including CannPOS, Cannalift, and, more recently, CannaFeels. In addition, Halo owns the discrete sublingual dosing technology, Accudab. The Company intends to spin-off these assets and its intellectual property and patent applications into its subsidiary Halo Tek Inc., and expects to complete a distribution to shareholders on a record date to be determined by Halo.
Halo has recently announced its intention to reorganize its non-U.S. operations into a newly formed entity called Akanda Corp., whose mission will be to provide high-quality and ethically sourced medical cannabis products to patients worldwide. Akanda will seek to deliver on this promise while driving positive change in wellness, empowering individuals in Lesotho, and uplifting the quality of the lives of employees and the local communities where it operates, all while limiting its carbon footprint. Akanda will combine the scaled production capabilities of Bophelo Bioscience & Wellness Pty. Ltd., Halo’s Lesotho-based cultivation and processing campus located in the world’s first Special Economic Zone (SEZ) containing a cannabis cultivation operation, with distribution and route-to-market efficiency of Canmart Ltd., Halo’s UK-based fully approved pharmaceutical importer, and distributor that supplies pharmacies and clinics within the U.K. With a potential maximum licensed canopy area of 200 hectares (495 acres), Bophelo has scalability that is arguably unmatched in the world today.
For further information regarding Halo, see Halo’s disclosure documents on SEDAR at www.sedar.com
About Boustead Securities, LLC
Boustead Securities, LLC is an investment banking firm that executes and advises on IPOs, mergers and acquisitions, capital raises and restructuring assignments in a wide array of industries, geographies and transactions, for a broad client base. Boustead’s core value proposition is the ability to create opportunity through innovative solutions and tenacious execution. With experienced professionals in the United States, Boustead’s team moves quickly and provides a broad spectrum of sophisticated financial advice and services. Boustead is a majority-owned subsidiary of Boustead & Company Limited, a diversified non-bank financial institution.
Matt Chesler, CFA
Dan McClory, Head of Equity Capital Markets
Boustead Securities, LLC
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Information and Statements
This press release contains certain “forward-looking information” within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation and may also contain statements that may constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking information and forward-looking statements are not representative of historical facts or information or current condition, but instead represent only Halo’s beliefs regarding future events, plans or objectives, many of which, by their nature, are inherently uncertain and outside of Halo’s control. Generally, such forward-looking information or forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “plans”, “expects” or “does not expect”, “is expected”, “budget”, “scheduled”, “estimates”, “forecasts”, “intends”, “anticipates” or “does not anticipate”, or “believes”, or variations of such words and phrases or may contain statements that certain actions, events or results “may”, “could”, “would”, “might” or “will be taken”, “will continue”, “will occur” or “will be achieved”. Forward-looking information may relate to anticipated events or results including, but not limited to the terms and completion of the International Reorganization and the prospects of Akanda, the composition of the board of directors of Akanda, the development of Bophelo’s operations and the granting of certifications, Halo’s planned expansion into the Canadian retail market, the expected size and capabilities of the final facility planned at Ukiah Ventures, the size of Halo’s planned cultivation facility in Northern California and the ability of Bophelo and CanMart to serve international markets.
By identifying such information and statements in this manner, Halo is alerting the reader that such information and statements are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such information and statements. In addition, in connection with the forward-looking information and forward-looking statements contained in this press release, Halo has made certain assumptions. Although Halo believes that the assumptions and factors used in preparing, and the expectations contained in, the forward-looking information and statements are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on such information and statements, and no assurance or guarantee can be given that such forward-looking information and statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such information and statements. Among others, the key factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking information and statements are the following: unforeseen delays or circumstances that prevent the applicable stock exchanges from commencing trading in the Company’s shares or warrants; delays in obtaining required licenses or approvals, delays or unforeseen costs incurred in connection with construction, the ability of competitors to scale operations in Northern California, delays or unforeseen difficulties in connection with the cultivation and harvest of Halo’s raw material, changes in general economic, business and political conditions, including changes in the financial markets; and the other risks disclosed in the Company’s annual information form dated March 31, 2021 and other disclosure documents available on the Company’s profile at www.sedar.com. Should one or more of these risks, uncertainties or other factors materialize, or should assumptions underlying the forward-looking information or statements prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those described herein as intended, planned, anticipated, believed, estimated or expected.
The forward-looking information and forward-looking statements contained in this press release are made as of the date of this press release, and Halo does not undertake to update any forward-looking information and/or forward-looking statements that are contained or referenced herein, except in accordance with applicable securities laws. All subsequent written and oral forward-looking information and statements attributable to Halo or persons acting on its behalf is expressly qualified in its entirety by this notice.
This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any of the securities described herein, nor shall there be any sale of these securities in any state or jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such state or jurisdiction.