Neptune Technologies (NEPT) to acquire the assets of Hemp processor SugarLeaf Labs

May 9, 2019 8:34 AM EDT
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Neptune Wellness Solutions Inc.(NASDAQ: NEPT) today announced the signing of a definitive agreement to acquire substantially all of the assets of SugarLeaf Labs, LLC and Forest Remedies LLC (collectively, "SugarLeaf"), a registered North Carolina-based commercial hemp company providing extraction services and formulated products. Through SugarLeaf, Neptune establishes a U.S.-based hemp extract supply chain, gaining a 24,000 square foot facility located in the important U.S. Southeast region. SugarLeaf's cutting-edge cold ethanol processing facility with a processing capacity of 1,500,000 kg uses hemp cultivated by licensed American growers consistent with federal and state regulations to yield high-quality full and broad-spectrum hemp extracts. The U.S. market for hemp is developing rapidly and represents a significant opportunity for the consumer products industry.

Neptune will acquire SugarLeaf on a debt-free basis for initial consideration at closing of US$18 million, paid as US$12 million in cash and US$6 million in common shares. By achieving certain annual adjusted EBITDA and other performance targets, additional consideration of up to US$132 million would be paid over each of the next three years as a combination of cash and shares for a maximum aggregate purchase price of up to US$150 million. The Transaction is expected to close on or before July 31st, 2019, upon completion of standard closing requirements, including regulatory and stock exchange (NASDAQ and TSX) approvals.

"With Neptune's Canada-based operations ramping up production and the cannabis industry growing exponentially around the world due to an evolving legal global framework, now is the time to establish a state-of-the-art supply chain in the U.S. marketplace," said Jim Hamilton, President and CEO of Neptune. "SugarLeaf's capacity, efficient production of high-quality extracts, and strong supplier relationships, combined with our existing competencies in customer relationships and science-based formulations, creates a strong value proposition to U.S. brands who want to offer differentiated products to consumers. Neptune's objective is to be a world's leader in extraction, purification and formulation of value-added cannabis and natural health products. We warmly welcome the SugarLeaf team to Neptune."

"We are thrilled to be joining forces with Neptune" said Peter Galloway, CEO of SugarLeaf. "The SugarLeaf team looks forward to combining our strengths with that of the Neptune team, thereby accelerating our combined growth and development."

Additional Information on SugarLeaf

SugarLeaf's Conover, North Carolina extraction facility has a processing capacity of 1,500,000 kg. SugarLeaf also possesses established, solid relationships with local farmers and consumer product companies looking for high purity hemp extracts to add to their product lines. The existing management team at SugarLeaf consists of experienced operators who will continue to operate the North Carolina extraction facility.

Sugarleaf has highly efficient hemp extraction capabilities in an important cultivation region of the U.S., developed through years of experience in processing and extraction methods. The company has been at the center of an extensive community that supports hemp extract production and refining, and uses the most advanced extraction equipment available – from stainless centrifuges to high capacity filtering and purifying techniques.

Additionally, Sugarleaf sources hemp material from local licensed hemp growers who use responsible growing practices, including organic and regenerative farming techniques. SugarLeaf uses non-GMO ethanol at extremely cold temperatures with advanced lab techniques that produce cannabinoid-rich extracts.

Additional Transaction DetailsUpon closing of the Transaction, Neptune will pay initial consideration of US$18 million, comprising US$12 million of cash and US$6 million in Neptune shares. Neptune plans to finance all or part of the cash portion of the initial consideration through a lending arrangement with a bank or other institution, or a private or public equity financing (or a combination of such financings). An additional US$6 million in shares will be paid when certain production and revenue milestones are achieved. Neptune will also pay an additional US$16 million, 50% in cash and the remainder in Neptune common shares, should SugarLeaf's adjusted EBITDA exceed US$8 million for any rolling 12-month period beginning April 1, 2019. Performance-based considerations have also been structured and will be based upon a percentage incremental adjusted EBITDA in 2021 and 2022 above a minimum growth level of up to a maximum of US$110 million. Neptune has the option to pay these additional considerations with a combination of cash and shares.

The Transaction will be subject to normal post-closing adjustments and customary terms and conditions. The Transaction is expected to close on or before July 31st, 2019.

TD Securities Inc. is acting as financial advisor to Neptune and Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP is acting as legal counsel to Neptune, and Vicente Sederberg LLP is acting as U.S. regulatory counsel to Neptune. Fluet, Huber & Hoang is acting as legal advisor to SugarLeaf.

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