Mario ToneguzziWestleaf Cannabis is receiving a development loan of up to $24 million from ATB Financial to build its business.

“As one of the first traditional lenders to enter the cannabis space, we’re proud of our long-term partnership with ATB as it has been instrumental in bringing our Westleaf vision to life,” said Taylor Ethans, chief financial officer of Westleaf Cannabis, in a statement. Westleaf Cannabis is based in Calgary

“We believe this creates a well-defined competitive advantage and is a strong validation of our team’s operational and financial expertise. Our focus is to maintain an efficient capital structure with low cost, traditional senior debt to help accelerate our growth strategy while limiting dilution for existing and future shareholders.”

The company said the loan is being allocated in two instalments, with the first $12.75 million of funding accounting for phase one of its 115,000-square-foot cannabis cultivation facility located near Battleford in Saskatchewan. The second instalment includes an additional $11.25 million for the Phase II expansion of the Battleford facility, conditional on receipt of a production licence.

Taylor Ethans

Taylor Ethans
Westleaf Cannabis

“The Battleford facility is one of two production/processing facilities that are planned for Westleaf, and once fully operational, Westleaf’s facilities will provide significant job creation for the communities in which it operates. … Upon completion, the production facilities will provide branded products that can be sold in Westleaf’s owned retail stores, Prairie Records. The company plans on opening multiple retail locations across Canada over the next 12 months,” it said in a news release.

In July, Westleaf announced it had entered into a strategic partnership with Thunderchild First Nation, marked by an $8-million investment in Westleaf by an affiliate of Thunderchild. The investment makes Thunderchild the largest shareholder of Westleaf, and is accompanied by a seat being allocated to Chief Delbert Wapass on the company’s board of directors.

“We believe that the legalization of recreational cannabis creates significant economic opportunities for our country – and our community is no exception. We are proud to be Westleaf’s largest shareholder, as we strongly believe that this relationship will bring significant benefits to our band,” said Wapass. “Westleaf’s strong knowledge of the industry and its vision to develop high-quality cannabis products in the prairies in collaboration with our members will make our relationship a natural and rewarding fit.”

Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran Calgary-based journalist who worked for 35 years for the Calgary Herald, including 12 years as a senior business writer.

ATB Financial lends Westleaf Cannabis funds for SK facility

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