- Operations currently include facilities in Oregon and Nevada
- Focusing efforts on edible and CBD products in the US
- New CEO Paul Dillman appointed in April
What Ascent Industries does:
Ascent Industries Corp (CSE:ASNT) (OTCMKTS:PGTMF) holds cannabis processing and distributions licences in Oregon and cultivation, production, processing and wholesale distribution of cannabis in Nevada in the US. In Europe, the group has a wholly-owned subsidiary, Danish company Agrima ApS.
The firm's focus is on its US licenses, facilities and operations and it is currently building its team and partnerships with a variety of new vendors.
In Canada, Ascent is currently involved in proceedings under the Companies Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) having agreed the sale of substantially all of the assets and the assumption of certain liabilities of its business in the country.
How is it doing:
Ascent has spent the last few months focusing its efforts on the US, where it aims to have a varied portfolio of edible and CBD products.
In March, the previous management of Ascent completed the sale of substantially all of the assets and the assumption of certain liabilities of its Canadian business to BZAM Management Ltd in a transaction valued at around C$41.5 million.
In April, Paul Dillman took over the post of CEO at Ascent. Dillman previously served as the executive vice-president of marketing, sales and operations at Emerald Health Therapeutics Inc. He has over three decades of global multi-national company experience, having served in senior positions at Philip Morris, AB InBev, and Coca-Cola.
In a letter to shareholders in August, Dillman said the firm has been working hard to get the company’s financial house in order, conclude outstanding regulatory issues and refocus efforts toward the expanding US marketplace.
"The Nevada and Oregon operations are a particular strength and will be key to our future success," Dillman noted in the letter.
The firm has had to face off against a number of challenges in Canada, generally stemming from legacy issues, which include Health Canada revoking its licences and a trading halt for its stock. It has said it has no near-term plans for business in Canada.
However, the firm is planning to reinvest proceeds of the sale of its Canadian business to focus on bolstering its US business, with an aim to relaunch its US assets under a new name.
The group has said it is well-positioned to access the US market opportunity. In Oregon, Ascent has cannabis and hemp handling licenses and a 7,000 sq/ft facility in Portland. The firm has plans to develop and convert the existing facility to a hemp-derived CBD extraction facility, with an aim to be GMP certified by July 2020.
In Nevada, the firm's operations are accelerating after successfully resolving outstanding regulatory issues that the team inherited in April. In Nevada, the firm owns a 37,000 sq/ft facility in Las Vegas and has a strategic partnership for a line of edibles and chocolates. The firm noted there are plans to build-out its hemp-derived and cannabis operations.
Ascent has also said it is currently re-assessing its Denmark entity. The firm says the regulatory environment and Ascent’s licenses allow for early-mover advantage in the hemp-derived CBD category, which is undergoing rapid growth.
In Canada, it is aiming to finalize its restructuring and emerge from creditor protection while maximizing its cash balance.
The new management team has said it is focused on rebuilding the trust of shareholders with a focus on near-term revenue opportunities and cost controls as well as a strong focus on return on equity and shareholder value.
What the boss says:
"Alongside our work to accelerate US operations and wind down outstanding regulatory issues, the company has been working tirelessly to resolve the various financial and contractual challenges our new leadership team inherited in April," said Ascent CEO Paul Dillman in the letter to shareholders in August.
"Thanks to the excellent work of our Chief Financial Officer Mark Lotz we are continuing to make progress. Completing the delayed financial statements for fiscal 2018 will be a key milestone is emerging from CCAA and returning the shares to trading, hopefully later this year."
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