CALGARY, Jan. 13, 2020 /CNW/ – Westleaf Inc. (the “Company” or “Westleaf“) (TSX-V:WL) (OTCQB:WSLFF) announced today that following the closing of the merger of Westleaf and We Grow B.C. Ltd. (“We Grow”), Scott Hurd, President, and Co-Founder, has resigned effective January 24, 2019.
“On behalf of Westleaf, we thank Scott for his vision, leadership, and efforts that have positioned Westleaf favorably with a high-quality asset base that is ripe for growth in 2020,” said Cody Church, Chairman of the Board of Westleaf. “Scott co-founded Westleaf and led the organization since August 2017. We are grateful for his strategic vision that has left the company in a strong financial position with sustainable competitive positioning. Scott was a driving force behind the recently closed merger with We Grow on December 20, 2019. We wish Scott continued success in his future endeavors.”
“As a founder of Westleaf, it is with a heavy heart that I announce my resignation today,” states Scott Hurd. “It has been an honor and a privilege to lead Westleaf through a period of immense growth in a new and dynamic industry. Our recently completed transformative merger with We Grow has positioned Westleaf to be one of the leading ultra-premium cannabis producers in Canada with best in the class realized retail pricing, strong brand awareness, and significant scalability and growth potential. With the merger now closed and a new leadership team in place, I have made the difficult decision to step back from the company. I have great confidence in the new management team and board to lead Westleaf through its next stage of growth. I wish Cody, Ben and the rest of the Westleaf team and board continued success in 2020 and beyond.”
Scott will work to formally transition his responsibilities over the coming weeks and will be available to support the organization as needed as a strategic advisor. Ben Sze, the former CEO of We Grow and current CEO of Westleaf, will succeed Scott as the President of Westleaf.
With We Grow’s the commitment to quality, it has bucked the industry trend of price compression, with the Q3 2019 financial results of We Grow demonstrating a gross realized price per gram of $11.65 (net realized price per gram of $10.06). Notably, in Q4 2019, the Company released additional flower strains into the recreational market and received an incremental $0.50 price per gram for four premium product SKUs. The Company will continue to focus on maintaining We Grow’s position as a leader in the premium cannabis category with its Qwest and Qwest Reserve branded products.
Cost Reduction Initiatives
The Company continues to undertake cost reduction initiatives as it maintains focus on profitability and solidifying its position as one of the leading premium cannabis companies in Canada. As the integration of We Grow continues, Westleaf has focused on unlocking the combined synergies of the merger including the elimination of 9 positions (approximately 30% of corporate staff), resulting in projected annualized savings of approximately $1.3 million. The Company is finalizing its 2020 budget with a view to ensuring adequate adjustments are made to its cost structure to allow the Company to execute on its strategy and deploy capital towards optimizing its asset base. Effective immediately, executive leaders Shon Williams, Chief Development Officer, and Ben Kaanta, Chief Operating Officer, will be departing the Company and have transitioned their responsibilities to the current Westleaf executive team.
About Westleaf Inc.
Westleaf has a fully integrated Canadian cannabis company focused on cannabis brands, extraction, and production of derivatives, wholly-owned retail, as well as premium cannabis cultivation. Westleaf’s operating cultivation facility is located in Creston, British Columbia in the heart of the Kootenays. It consists of 26,000 square feet retrofitted for phase 1 cultivation, including over 14,000 square feet of growing rooms. The Company is also building an 80,000 square foot purpose-built indoor cultivation facility located in Battleford, Saskatchewan. Westleaf’s cannabis production includes its brand Qwest, which is considered a preeminent luxury cannabis brand. Westleaf’s extraction and processing facility, The Plant, is designed to produce high quality and consistent cannabis derivatives and consumables, both for Westleaf’s in-house brands as well as white label products. Westleaf’s retail concept, Prairie Records, leverages the instinctual tie between recreational cannabis and music with stores operating or in development across Western Canada.