NEWS BRIEF

Aurora Cannabis lists some Uruguay assets for sale as regional CEO departs

Canadian producer Aurora Cannabis has confirmed that some of its assets in Uruguay are for sale, and the CEO leading its subsidiary in the South American country is no longer with the company.

Alejandro Antalich, a former chief executive of ICC Labs, departed the firm, an Aurora spokeswoman told Marijuana Business Daily.

Aurora also removed any mention of ICC Labs from its latest investor presentation, dated September 2020.

The Canadian company acquired ICC Labs in late 2018 for almost 300 million Canadian dollars ($226 million).

Aurora boasted of the deal at the time that “the acquisition … will establish Aurora as the industry leader in South America.”

During a June presentation, Aurora included ICC Labs as one of its five production sites.

Asked by MJBizDaily whether Aurora plans to continue operating its recreational and medical business segments in Uruguay or if the company is considering selling some or all its assets there, the Aurora spokeswoman said via email, “we don’t have any further new developments regarding Uruguay to note with you.”

However, in a recent regulatory filing, Aurora acknowledged it “listed for sale two properties in Uruguay which had a total carrying value of $2 million.”

Aurora is not the first international cannabis company to scale back its Uruguayan operations.

Earlier this year:

  • Toronto-based Auxly Cannabis largely retreated from the country
  • Khiron Life Sciences – a Toronto-based company with its main operations in Colombia – said it suspended the construction of its Uruguayan assets.

Regulatory fees in Uruguay appear to be an issue for Aurora subsidiary Plomfin SA.

The company recently asked Uruguayan authorities to pay a long-overdue fee in installments, according to a resolution by the cannabis regulator.

The Institute for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis (IRCCA) agreed to allow Plomfin SA to pay its manufacturing license fee – originally due in early 2019 – in four installments starting at the end of 2020.

The company was granted a manufacturing license in December 2018 to produce extracts using low-THC cannabis as raw material.

The fee for that license equates to about $45,000.

Asked by MJBizDaily whether the company had an explanation for the situation, the Aurora spokeswoman provided the following written response:

“Aurora continues to work with local authorities in all markets where we operate. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have maintained constructive dialogue with government partners in support of business and sector needs, including mutually agreed upon deferrals and extensions of payment schedules where appropriate.”

In November 2018, former CEO Antalich said Aurora’s medical cannabis products would be available in Uruguayan pharmacies in “less than three months,” but that has yet to happen.

Alfredo Pascual can be reached at [email protected]

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