First Big Tobacco firm in marijuana seeks bankruptcy protection

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(A version of this story first appeared on Hemp Industry Daily.)

Pyxus International, the first Big Tobacco company to enter the marijuana and hemp sectors, filed for bankruptcy protection after  the coronavirus pandemic dealt a financial blow to its operations.

Morrisville, North Carolina-based Pyxus filed a prepackaged plan to reduce debt by $400 million and give control to a group of bondholders, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Pyxus’ Canadian marijuana operations, Prince Edward Island-based Figr, aren’t part of the bankruptcy filing, an executive told Marijuana Business Daily.

The company also grows hemp in the United States.

Known as Alliance One International at the time, Pyxus first entered the cannabis industry in 2018 when it purchased Canada’s Island Garden and an 80% stake in Goldleaf Pharm.

At the time of the acquisitions, Island Garden was one of three licensed producers chosen by Canadian regulators to supply Prince Edward Island with cannabis, and Goldleaf Pharm had applied to become a licensed medical marijuana cultivator in Ontario, Canada.

Pyxus, one of the world’s largest tobacco suppliers, was hit hard by declining tobacco consumption and supply disruptions fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company trades as PYX on the Nasdaq and New York Stock Exchange.