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Village Farms International announced on Tuesday that it will acquire a 6.6% stake in Australia-based Altum International, one of Asia-Pacific's leading cannabinoid platforms. US shares advanced 6.2% to $6.21 in morning trading.
The financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed but Vancouver-based Village Farms (VFF) said it has the option to increase its ownership in Altum on similar terms. The move is part of Village Farm’s strategy to enter the legal medical, and potentially the legal recreational, cannabis markets in Australia and New Zealand.
"On the heels of our recent investment in the Netherlands, our partnership with Altum represents another meaningful step to leverage our three decades of experience in vertically integrated, intensive agriculture, as well as our cannabis success in Canada, for international CBD and cannabis opportunities," said Village Farms CEO Michael DeGiglio. "Village Farms is at a place where, with well-established North American operations, we are able to turn our attention to strategic, early-stage international opportunities where CBD and cannabis are being legalized in our pursuit of well-researched capital allocation for the generation of outsized, long-term returns.”
With about 4.5 billion people – more than four times that of the US, Canada and Europe combined – the Asia-Pacific market represents one such sizable but nascent opportunity, with the addressable market for cannabis alone forecast to reach $10 billion by 2024, DeGiglio added. Village Farms is also seeking numerous synergistic opportunities that exist between the two companies. “As a partner, we expect Village Farms to be invaluable in enabling a sustainable, long-term competitive advantage for Altum via its complementary skill sets based on decades of agricultural experience, including specific modern best practice know-how in cannabis cultivation at scale, and a pipeline of product innovation and category expertise," said Altum CEO Ean Alexander.
Altum said it plans to pursue its business strategy throughout the Asia-Pacific region, including but not limited to Greater China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand, with the goal to be commercially active in at least three additional countries in the next 12 months.
Village Farms shares are currently trading down less than 1% year-to-date, while analysts have a bullish outlook on the stock with 4 unanimous Buy ratings making it a Strong Buy consensus.
Raymond James analyst Rahul Sarugaser last month reiterated a Buy rating on the stock, saying that VFF’s efforts to expand internationally provide “an opportunity to add positions in a stock that we view as materially undervalued”.
Indeed, the $14.18 analyst average price target implies a whopping 130% upside potential to current levels. (See Village Farms stock analysis on TipRanks)
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