Westleaf Hits Construction Milestone in Development of Thunderchild Cannabis Cultivation Facility
CALGARY, Feb. 26, 2019 /CNW/ - Westleaf Inc. (TSX-V: WL) ("Westleaf" or the "Company) is pleased to announce it has taken its next step in being a truly vertically integrated cannabis company, by substantially completing the exterior construction work and now commencing on the interior build of its Thunderchild cultivation facility. The ~130,000 square foot indoor cultivation facility under construction is expected to produce ~14,600 kg of flower per annum once both phases are completed (see assumptions in forward looking statements) and is fully funded, which include commitments from ATB Financial to provide up to $24 million in senior debt in connection with phase one and two of the facility. Once licensed by Health Canada, the facility will be the Company's flagship grow operation that has been designed by Westleaf's experienced operations team, with prior senior management experience at one of the largest North American cannabis operators, having collectively designed over 48 cultivation facilities and operated 24.
- Vertically Integrated Company – the Thunderchild cultivation facility complements Westleaf's vertically integrated strategy, and once licensed by Health Canada, will provide the Company with a foundational production facility which will provide product to the Company's extraction and processing facility located in Calgary, Alberta and ultimately to its wholly owned retail operations in Western Canada, operating under the brand Prairie Records.
- Demonstrated Cannabis Cultivation Expertise – Westleaf's senior operations team brings a pedigree difficult to find in the nascent cannabis industry with a track record of designing and operating dozens of cannabis cultivation facilities while achieving industry leading yields.
- Thunderchild Facility Financing – The cultivation facility is being financed through funds on hand and a development loan from ATB Financial in two installments (up to $24 million) assigned to the two phases of construction. The loan has given Westleaf flexibility in building the facility with non-dilutive capital. For a description of the credit facility from ATB Financial and when the Company may draw down on such credit facility, please see the Company's Annual Information Form dated January 15, 2019.
- High-Quality Indoor and Scalable Facility – Phase one of Thunderchild includes an ~85,000 square foot indoor growing facility which, once fully licensed, is expected to be produce ~7,300 kgs of high-quality, consistent dried cannabis flower annually. Phase two is expected to double the annual production of the facility to ~14,600 kgs per annum and bring the total facility size to ~130,000 square feet.
- Thunderchild First Nation Partnership – The name of the facility (Thunderchild by Westleaf Cannabis) is a nod to one of Westleaf's largest and earliest shareholders, Thunderchild First Nation. In addition, the cultivation site is located on lands owned by the Thunderchild First Nation in Battleford, Saskatchewan and is anticipated to provide a source of long-term employment for up to 150 people.
The Thunderchild facility is a key component in Westleaf's vertically integrated cannabis strategy
explains Scott Hurd, President and CEO of Westleaf.
This facility is designed to produce some of the highest quality cannabis in the industry. We expect it will provide us the source product to feed our extraction and processing facility in Calgary, Alberta and can be sold through our wholly owned retail stores, Prairie Records, now opening across Western Canada. This three-pronged approach provides us a unique advantage in the industry as we will be able to adjust product mix based on real time consumer feedback from the retail level and allow us to capture margin across the entire vertical cannabis chain
The wholly owned Thunderchild cultivation facility began as a partnership with the Thunderchild First Nation and is being built on land owned by the First Nation in Battleford, Saskatchewan. Hurd notes that the relationship with the indigenous nation is an important one in the development of the Company, as Thunderchild was one of the early investors in Westleaf and remains one of the largest shareholders.
We believe this facility will be a source of pride for the members of the Thunderchild Nation and provide a source of long-term employment going forward
Once fully operational the facility is expected to hire up to 150 people from the neighbouring communities.
The development of the Thunderchild facility is being overseen by four key members of the Westleaf executive team: Ben Kaanta, Chief Operating Officer; Shon Williams, Chief Development Officer, Christian Monson, Chief Legal Officer and VP, Strategy, and Matt Marshall, Director of Cultivation and Training. All are veterans of the Colorado cannabis industry and were senior members of the executive team at one of the largest global operators of cannabis assets, where they designed 48 and operated 24 cannabis cultivation and production facilities across North America.
Westleaf is a vertically integrated cannabis company focused on innovative retail experiences and engaging cannabis brands as well as cultivation, production and extraction of cannabis products. Westleaf is rolling out a national retail footprint for its retail concept Prairie Records, with stores planned for British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and potentially Ontario. The retail concept leverages the instinctual tie between recreational cannabis and music and redefines the cannabis purchasing experience. The Company also has two significant production facilities under construction and scheduled for completion in 2019. For more information, please visit www.westleaf.com or www.prairierecords.ca.
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This news release contains "forward-looking information" and "forward-looking statements" (collectively, "forward-looking statements") within the meaning of the applicable Canadian securities legislation. All statements, other than statements of historical fact, are forward-looking statements and are based on expectations, estimates and projections as at the date of this news release. Any statement that involves discussions with respect to predictions, expectations, beliefs, plans, projections, objectives, assumptions, future events or performance (often but not always using phrases such as "expects", or "does not expect", "is expected", "anticipates" or "does not anticipate", "plans", "budget", "scheduled", "forecasts", "estimates", "believes" or "intends" or variations of such words and phrases or stating that certain actions, events or results "may" or "could", "would", "might" or "will" be taken to occur or be achieved) are not statements of historical fact and may be forward-looking statements. This news release, forward-looking statements relate, among other things, to: (i) the development of the Thunderchild facility, the quality of the facility and the expected opening date thereof; (ii) production estimates from the Thunderchild facility; (iii) the business and operations of Westleaf; and (iv) expected production numbers are based on 7,300 kg of cannabis flower in each of Phase I and Phase II of the Thunderchild cultivation facility, with Phase I consisting of the following: facility floor plate of approximately 65,550 square feet (~85,000 total square feet); Phase I and II each have grow/flower bench capacity of 21,000 square feet and assumes 60 grams per yield per square foot per harvest and 5.8 harvests per annum. Cultivation and sale of cannabis from the facility is subject to receipt of a license from Health Canada. Forward-looking statements are necessarily based upon a number of estimates and assumptions that, while considered reasonable, are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors which may cause the actual results and future events to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, but are not limited to: timing and completion of the exterior and interior of the facility; completion of review of the facility by Health Canada and receipt of a license from Health Canada; compliance with all conditions to draw down on the Alberta Treasury Branches credit facilities; assumptions regarding facility size, yield and harvests at the facility; general business, economic, competitive, political and social uncertainties;. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on the forward-looking statements and information contained in this news release. Except as required by law, Westleaf assume no obligation to update the forward-looking statements of beliefs, opinions, projections, or other factors, should they change, except as required by law.
SOURCE Westleaf Inc.