Cannabis Industry in Lesotho, Africa to Become Gateway to EU Cannabis Markets
Not for Distribution to U.S. Newswire Servicers or For Dissemination in the United States
Halo Labs Inc. ("Halo" or the "Company") (NEO: HALO, OTCQX: AGEEF, Germany: A9KN) is pleased to announce that it has entered into a non-binding letter of intent (LOI) for the proposed acquisition of Bophelo Bioscience & Wellness (Pty) Ltd (“Bophelo”) (the “Transaction”). The Transaction is expected to strengthen the Company’s position in Lesotho, Africa, a country quickly becoming the continent’s export gateway to the global cannabis market. Lesotho is the first African country to grant medical marijuana licenses for cultivation and patient use and is making strides toward becoming the worldwide export hub for cannabis. Halo’s planned acquisition of Bophelo brings together two socially-minded companies on a shared mission to better the communities in Lesotho.
Halo’s initial partnership with Bophelo included operation of the 5-hectare cultivation and production site and purchase of its entire production in exchange for a 20% equity stake and a royalty on cannabis sales. In a growing consumer market, Halo now intends to purchase the entire issued share capital of Bophelo for 40,786,667 common shares in the capital of Halo (approximately USD $18.4M or CAD $24.7M).
Supreme Cannabis (FIRE.TO) and Canopy Growth Corporation (WEED.TO) made significant investments in Lesotho recently with Supreme Cannabis making a CAD $10M strategic investment in Medigrow Lesotho (Pty) in exchange for a 10% ownership interest in that company, and Canopy Growth Corporation acquiring 100% of DaddyCann Lesotho (Pty) Ltd for CAD $28.8M.
This Transaction is expected to strengthen Halo’s position in a region strategically set to become the international breadbasket of Good Agricultural and Collecting Practice (GACP) and EU Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)-grade cannabis isolates and distillates. GACP and GMP designations demonstrate Halo’s capability to grow and manufacture at scale while adhering to high-quality standards and enables distribution to European and international pharmaceutical and nutraceutical companies in these attractive and growing markets.
Beyond providing a source of low-cost cannabis inputs and products for Europe and other regions, Africa as a continent boasts a strong consumer market. According to New Frontier, there are over 83 million annual cannabis consumers on the continent and the current market is estimated at USD $37.3 billion in combined legal and illegal sales out of the total USD $344.4 billion worldwide. This emerging opportunity will be unlocked with increased cannabis decriminalization and legalization policies, such as neighboring South Africa; which in 2018 approved private use and decriminalized possession, a market which according to the March 2019 Prohibition Partners Africa Report is now expected to be worth USD $1.851 billion by 2023.
Kiran Sidhu, the CEO of Halo Labs, commented, “The high-altitude, low-humidity climate and access to water, as well as low cost utility, tax, and labor rates mean cannabis in Lesotho can be cultivated naturally at a very competitive cost. While most of the licenses issued to date restrict cultivation to 2-3 hectares and indoor or greenhouse growing, Bophelo operates one of the largest sites in Lesotho at 5 hectares. The state has also given Bophelo preliminary approval to expand up to 200 hectares and has indicated they would consider granting permission for outdoor growing from 2019 onwards, following consultation with the INCB (International Narcotics Control Board). Bophelo has secured this site with a 20-year lease and option to renew for an additional 30 years.”
Once fully operational on the initial 5 hectare site, Bophelo intends to harvest GACP cultivated cannabis approximately twice per annum and will have the potential to produce approximately 4.6M grams of high quality EU GMP cannabis concentrate per annum.
Mr. Sidhu continued, “We anticipate EU GMP cannabis concentrate would be exported to the European market at an estimated price of USD $10 per gram while our FOB Lesotho all-in cost ready for export would not exceed USD $2 per gram. We expect the initial planting to occur in November and to complete our first harvest by the second quarter of 2019. Bophelo will also give Halo Labs an international platform for our innovative products like the DabTabs™ Dablets, the first ASTM C373-18 certified doseable cannabis product.”
Halo continues to solidify its reputation as a leader in cannabis oil and concentrates and is now the first U.S. based publicly traded company to make an investment into Lesotho. Upon closing of the Transaction, Halo will expand its global footprint and be one of the first cannabis companies in the world to have products and technology carried across the EU, the United States, and Africa.
The Chairman and non-executive director of Bophelo, Ms. Louisa Mojela, stated, “The acquisition of Bophelo by Halo Labs gives me great hope for the future of Africa’s cannabis industry. I am glad to be working with Halo’s executive team, too. Together we will strengthen Lesotho’s position as the breadbasket for Europe, Australia, and other global markets.” Ms. Mojela is among Africa’s most successful business personalities and a prominent citizen of Lesotho. She has been recognized by countless international organizations for her contributions to business, women, and impoverished communities winning an All Africa Business Leaders award by CNBC in 2016.
Halo’s acquisition of Bophelo will further solidify the Company’s strategic vision in addition to exemplifying its support of social responsibility initiatives. For example, the land leased by Bophelo is held by a non-profit trust that benefits the community. 10% (ten percent) of Bophelo’s pre-tax profits will go to this trust and be given back to the people of Lesotho. Both Ms. Mojela and Mr. Sidhu are like-minded about social impact and equity. Through support from the trust, Ms. Mojela has founded and built a school on Bophelo’s premises and Mr. Sidhu is personally donating computers for the school’s students. Ms. Mojela commented, “The social benefits of our public-private partnership are extremely important to me. Halo shares that commitment and these values will differentiate us from our competitors.”
Chairman of Halo Labs, G. Scott Paterson, summed up anticipated benefits from the transaction, “The proposed acquisition of Bophelo is game changing for Halo and important for the global cannabis economy. We are enthusiastic about the Lesotho opportunity and operating a scale cultivation and production facility for the international export of oil and concentrates. We expect a lift both to revenue and profit and are looking forward to delivering these financial results to our shareholders.”
Completion of the Transaction is subject to, among other things, the negotiation and execution of a mutually agreeable definitive acquisition agreement and related documents and the satisfaction or waiver of any conditions precedent to the consummation of the Transaction (including the receipt of any requisite regulatory and third-party approvals).
ABOUT HALO LABS
Halo is a cannabis extraction company that develops and manufactures quality cannabis oils and concentrates, which are the fastest growing segments in the cannabis industry. Halo is a global leader in cannabis oil and concentrates and has expertise across as major cannabis manufacturing processes, leveraging proprietary processes and products, and has produced over 4.0M grams of oils and concentrates since inception. The forward-thinking company is led by a strong management team with deep industry knowledge and blue-chip experience. The Company is currently operating in California and Oregon as well as Nevada with our partner Just Quality and in Lesotho with the Bophelo strategic partnership. With a consumer-centric focus, Halo will continue to market innovative branded and private label products across multiple product categories.
ABOUT BOPHELO BIOSCIENCE
Bophelo Bioscience is based in the Kingdom of Lesotho, Southern Africa and is the holder of one of a limited number of licenses issued in Lesotho for the production of medicinal cannabis products. Situated in proximity 70 kilometers to the capital city of Maseru, the Company’s operating site is an ideal location with ample labor, free water, flat land area, and low crime rates. The favorable high altitude, low humidity climate provides clean and organic growing conditions within the pristine mountainous region. With the motto “Sechaba se tlisa lerou” (community brings wealth), Bophelo highlights the value of community and empowerment of the Basotho people with a focus on the development of women and youth.
Lesotho is the first African country to legalize the cultivation and manufacturing of medicinal cannabis, becoming one of the most sought-after locations for cannabis operations in the world. The country has issued a limited number of licenses since legalization in 2016 and has been exporting cannabis since early 2018.
For further information regarding Halo, see Halo’s disclosure documents on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.
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”. The forward-looking information and forward-looking statements contained herein may include, but is not limited to, statements regarding the Transaction (including the terms thereof, the entering into of definitive documentation and closing conditions), the receipt of regulatory approvals, the distribution and sale of Halo and Bophelo and the size and growth of the global and regional cannabis market generally.
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. 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.