An ongoing dispute between a cannabis investment company and a group of shareholders demanding changes to the firm’s board of directors has erupted once again.

Meanwhile, the CEO of a Canadian producer asked the market what more his firm could offer to show growth as the company reported losses and saw its share value drop dramatically.


Keep reading to find out more cannabis highlights from the past five days.

Australis and investors trade blows

The saga between cannabis company Australis Capital (CSE:AUSA,OTCQB:AUSAF) and a group of disgruntled investors continued this week as the two groups went at it with public statements.

First off was the group of investors known as the Concerned Shareholders of Australis Capital, which on Tuesday (October 13) said it does not buy into the recent management changes done by the company.

“The recently announced appointments of Harry DeMott as CEO and Rick Cutler and Sameer Kumar as members of the Board are (simple) attempts to cover the tracks of the historical failures and fundamentally flawed corporate culture at Australis,” the group wrote.

The investors are expressing anger towards the company for what they call “value-destroying” decisions by its leaders, including DeMott, whose expertise in leading the firm they called into question.

Among these investors is former Aurora Cannabis (NYSE:ACB,TSX:ACB) CEO Terry Booth. The investor group has put forth a list of professionals they believe would constitute a better board for the company. Booth was missing from that list as the investor group believes his current business interests could lead to a conflict of interest in the case of potential future Australis acquisitions or investments.

The next day, as the company filed materials related to its upcoming annual meeting with shareholders, it took some time to respond to the investor group.

In its statement, Australis said while the investor group and management share a lot of the same vision for where Australis should go next, there is simply no agreement on how to get there.

Australis accused the investor group of merely staging this challenging position as a way to “resurrect Terry’s reputation from the ash heap of his disastrous mismanagement of Aurora,” as well as to appoint directors who would follow his instructions.

The company is asking undecided voters to side with it as a way to prevent it from spending money on a battle for control of Australis, and went as far as to call the shareholders’ demands a “smokescreen” to get control of the board.

Amid Aphria results, CEO says investors are “missing out”

In a televised appearance, Irwin Simon, CEO of Aphria (NASDAQ:APHA,TSX:APHA), expressed frustration at the market’s reaction to his company’s most recent financial report.

Following the release of its numbers for the first fiscal quarter of 2021 on Thursday (October 15), the company faced a significant drop in its share price. The open market stayed away as Aphria shares in Toronto dropped nearly 18 percent for the trading day and closed at a price of C$6.36.

“I think where investors are missing and I’m surprised why our stock is down, what investors are missing is our business continues to grow in Canada,” Simon said in an interview with BNN Bloomberg. “I’m not sure what investors are missing.”

The Aphria executive pointed to the firm’s net revenue from the Canadian market and its positive adjusted EBITDA. It reported a record C$69.6 million in gross revenue from adult-use sales in Canada.

However, investors and analysts expressed frustration at Aphria’s C$5.1 million net loss for the quarter.

The company blamed some of its operating downturn on challenges with its European business, with net revenue dropping to C$80.7 million compared to C$93.7 million for the same period last year.

Cannabis company news

  • The Valens Company (TSX:VLNS,OTCQX:VLNCF) issued its results for the third fiscal quarter of 2020, reporting a balance sheet of C$30.3 million as it reached a 10 percent uptick in net revenue for the period compared to last year.
  • Dixie Brands (CSE:DIXI.U,OTCQX:DXBRF) notified investors following the combination of its business with BR Brands. The two will now be known as BellRock Brands and will have a new listing on the Canadian Securities Exchange, pending approval.
  • Curaleaf Holdings (CSE:CURA,OTCQX:CURLF) is changing the branding for its recently acquired network of dispensaries in Connecticut; they will now fall under its own branding structure.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Cannabis for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Bryan Mc Govern, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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