Zenabis Provides Operations Update for September 2019
Vancouver, British Columbia – October 21, 2019 – Zenabis Global Inc. (TSX:ZENA) (“Zenabis” or the “Company”) is pleased to provide an update on its recent facility construction and licensing activities and recent cannabis production results.
- With respect to production results:
- Cultivation output in September 2019 was 2,089 kg of dried cannabis, with production at Zenabis Atholville outperforming its revised design capacity by 21.8% (the Performance Ratio1).
- Cultivation output of 2,089 kg of dried cannabis was 21.2% greater than Zenabis’ revised forecast output (as updated on August 6, 2019) of 1,731 kg of dried cannabis.
- Zenabis submitted a license amendment application for Zenabis Langley’s existing cultivation license on September 27, 2019 to include additional growing areas totaling 101,300 sq. ft. for Zenabis Langley – Part 2A. Zenabis’ licensed annual production capacity is expected to increase by 39,400 kg to 96,400 kg once this license amendment is approved by Health Canada.
- Zenabis continues to focus on construction and licensing of Zenabis Langley. Zenabis has revised its construction timelines at Zenabis Langley to split Zenabis Langley – Part 2B into two phases (Zenabis Langley – Part 2B and Zenabis Langley – Part 2C) in order to preserve cashflow given current market conditions and reduce ramp-up risk, among other reasons detailed below. Zenabis expects to submit a license amendment for Part 2B in November 2019 (14,800 kg of licensed annual production capacity). Zenabis expects to submit a license amendment for Part 2C in February 2020 (32,000 kg of licensed annual production capacity) to the extent this is justified by market demand at economic prices. Zenabis’ total annual cultivation capacity is expected to increase to 143,200 kg of dried cannabis on completion of licensing at Zenabis Langley early in the second quarter of 2020.
Andrew Grieve, Chief Executive Officer of Zenabis, stated, “We continued to see strong cultivation results in September, with output exceeding our forecast of 1,731 kg by 21.8%. Our Performance Ratio decreased month over month as a result of the significant number of harvests from newly licensed rooms in the month (five of the 10 harvests). The Performance Ratio for newly licensed rooms harvested in September was 14.2% while the Performance Ratio for rooms that had previously been operated was 30.0%. Although the variety of cultivation approaches and rapid scale-up at Zenabis Atholville continues to cause room by room variance, steady-state yields for each cultivar are expected in the near-term, with general steady-state operations expected at Zenabis Atholville by the end of 2019.
“Since our last update, we increased our licensed annual cultivation capacity to 57,000 kg and submitted a licence application that is expected to increase our licensed annual production capacity by 69%, from 57,000 kg to 96,400 kg,” continued Andrew Grieve, Chief Executive Office of Zenabis. “While the timeline revision for Zenabis Langley will delay achieving full design capacity at the facility, we expect to have 96,400 kg of capacity licensed and operational by the end of 2019 with approval of the Zenabis Langley – Part 2A amendment. By early in the first quarter of 2020, we expect to have 111,200 kg of capacity licensed and operational with the approval of the Zenabis Langley – Part 2B amendment.”
Cannabis Production Summary
In September 2019, Zenabis realized a total harvest weight of 2,089 kg of dried cannabis.
The amount harvested at Zenabis Atholville for the three months ending September 30, 2019 exceeded the revised design capacity of the flower rooms by an average of 25.7%, compared to 23.2% in the three-month period from June 2019 through August 2019. A month-to-month comparison of actual harvests compared with harvest forecast based on revised design capacity between January 2019 and September 2019 for Zenabis Atholville is provided in the table below.
|Revised Design Capacity Performance at Zenabis Atholville||Jan
|Actual Harvest Weight (kg)||474||480||518||809||908||756||1,238||1,912||2,089||9,184|
|Revised Design Capacity Harvest Weight (kg)2||467||643||539||796||895||716||1,097||1,357||1,715||8,225|
|Difference (%) – Revised “Performance Ratio”||1.5%||(25.3%)||(3.9%)||1.6%||1.5%||5.6%||12.9%||40.9%||21.8%||11.7%|
2 The Revised Design Capacity Harvest Weight is based on the “design capacity” yield that Zenabis has disclosed to date. This figure was derived by converting the actual square footage of flower room space and the forecast canopy for each specific flower room into a kilograms per room per day figure based on Zenabis’ historical yield data at the Zenabis Atholville facility based on the yield performance in the three months ending June 2019 for revised design capacity. The Revised Design Capacity Harvest Weight in the table above is the harvest weight that would have resulted if the Design Capacity Yield Per Day for a room was multiplied by the Effective Flower Room Equivalent Days, as defined under “Performance Ratio”. Zenabis has revised its design capacity at Zenabis Atholville upwards by 35% (equal to Zenabis Atholville’s Performance Ratio for the three months ended June 30, 2019) from 34,300 kg per annum to 46,300 kg per annum. Zenabis no longer reports outperformance relative to original design capacity (the kg/day figure utilized to derive the 34,300 kg original design capacity for Zenabis Atholville).
In September 2019, Zenabis completed 10 harvests at Zenabis Atholville. The average Performance Ratio for these harvests was 21.8% relative to the revised design capacity. In September 2019, Zenabis did not complete any harvests at Zenabis Stellarton or Zenabis Langley.
2019 Harvest Forecast – Zenabis Atholville, Zenabis Stellarton and Zenabis Langley Site A – Part 1
For its existing licensed facilities of Zenabis Atholville, Zenabis Stellarton and Zenabis Langley Site A – Part 1, Zenabis expects to produce approximately 16,7335 kg of dried cannabis from October 2019 through January 2020. Zenabis continues to expect to complete its first harvest from Zenabis Langley in November. Zenabis’ forecast harvest output in November includes 1,650 kg from Zenabis Langley. The following table sets out Zenabis’ estimated aggregate monthly harvests for Zenabis Atholville, Zenabis Stellarton and Zenabis Langley Site A – Part 1 for the remainder of 2019 and January of 2020.
3 This forward-looking estimate of future harvest results is based on the following material assumptions: (1) Zenabis Stellarton and Zenabis Langley Site A – Part 1 operate at their published design capacity on a room by room basis for the cultivation space that is licensed and in cultivation at the forward-looking periods noted; (2) Atholville rooms operate based on the current flower schedule and at revised design capacity (a 35% increase relative to original design capacity); and (3) Cultivation commencement at Zenabis Langley Site A – Part 1 in September 2019.
Zenabis intends to provide a monthly cultivation forecast for Zenabis Langley Site A – Part 2A and Zenabis Langley Site A – Part 2B upon receipt of all cultivation license amendments for these phases.
Cannabis Post-Harvesting and Packaging Discussion
The timeline from harvest to the point at which Zenabis completes a sale of that product ranges from a minimum of three weeks (in the case of a bulk sale to a licensed producer) to more than eight weeks (in the case of soft gel capsules which involve external extraction, processing, filling, packaging and shipment). Zenabis recognizes the revenue from completion of such sales in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board.
In August 2019, Zenabis replaced its original packaging equipment (for bud jar filling) at Zenabis Atholville with new packaging equipment intended to achieve output of 30,000 units per day (equivalent to more than 90,000 grams per day at current average volumes per jar). During September 2019, the new packaging equipment was not able to achieve its expected output. Instead average output in September was 6,276 units per day, resulting in completed bud filling of only 517 kg (this excludes pre-roll packaging and bulk packaging). As a result, Zenabis was not able to package, ship and sell all of its product cultivated in August and September that had been destined for provincial counterparties, causing a delay in achieving the Company’s expected revenues. With focused troubleshooting, Zenabis has now achieved primary packaging output of 11,643 units per day, on average, during the 14 days ending October 20, 2019, with a maximum of 22,416 units per day. In addition, Zenabis has moved the original packaging equipment at Zenabis Atholville to Zenabis Stellarton and is in the process of ramping-up packaging at Zenabis Stellarton (bud filling commenced October 10, 2019 and pre-roll packaging commenced September 11, 2019). Zenabis expects that, as of November 2019, the Company will have surplus packaging capacity, and that there will be no further delays in the Company’s ability to package, ship and sell all of the product cultivated at Zenabis Atholville.
Currently, indicative demand from provincial counterparties exceeds forecast supply of both packaged flower and packaged pre-rolls for October 2019 through January of 2020 without further reductions in price. Indicative demand does not necessarily translate into actual demand, as the planning process with provincial counterparties may not result in firm volume indications until two weeks prior to a shipment, with purchase orders at times being finalized within days of shipments. As ramp-up of Zenabis’ facilities and the facilities of competitors occurs, Zenabis expects continued pressure on wholesale pricing to be applied by provincial counterparties.
In September, Zenabis packaged 650 kg of bulk product and shipped 190 kg, with the remainder held over for shipment to bulk counterparties in October to meet prepaid supply agreement commitments. Zenabis packaged 732 kg of flower and pre-rolls for provincial counterparties in September and shipped 462 kg. Zenabis also shipped 174 litres of oil products in September.
Construction and Facility Update
Now that construction is substantially complete4 at Zenabis Atholville, Zenabis is focused on operational improvements to reduce operating costs (increasing packaging automation, for example), improve post-harvest processing, increase yield, and improve packaging throughput.
The first phase of Zenabis Langley (Zenabis Langley – Part 1) is licensed and operational. Since Zenabis’ August operations update was released, Zenabis has reached substantial completion of Part 2A4 and submitted a cultivation license amendment for this phase.
Zenabis remains focused on converting the remaining portion of Zenabis Langley but has revised its conversion plan for these phases to split Zenabis Langley – Part 2B into two phases (Zenabis Langley – Part 2B and Zenabis Langley – Part 2C). Zenabis has made this revision for the following reasons:
- Focus on Cashflow Generation. By revising the timeline for the submission of Zenabis Langley’s final two flower rooms (Zenabis Langley – Part 2C), Zenabis expects to be able to reduce cashflow outflows for capital expenditure as Zenabis works to generate positive cashflow from operations.
- Staggering Operational Ramp-Up. Further staggering the operational ramp-up at Zenabis Langley is expected to reduce the inherent issues that come with ramping up a facility of this size. As is illustrated by the packaging discussion above (regarding ramp-up at Zenabis Atholville), ramp-up challenges are possible in this industry. While Zenabis is focused on ramping up its facilities in a manner where any commercially possible action is taken to mitigate ramp-up risk, Zenabis believes that staggering the ramp-up at Zenabis Langley is in the best interest of the Company.
- Defer Budget Overages. Zenabis recently identified that it expects to spend the entirety of its estimated amount remaining at Zenabis Langley (as forecast in Zenabis’ MD&A for the period ending June 30, 2019 at $13,700,000) upon completion of Part 2B. As a result, Zenabis expects capital expenditure amounts remaining to spend relating to Part 2C to be budget overages (estimated to be $4,000,000). This overage was driven by increases in equipment costs relating to HVAC equipment and automated tray tables. Zenabis has made the decision to defer this overage expenditure to a time when it can be funded by operating cashflow as opposed to cash on hand.
Zenabis expects this timeline revision to have the following impact on the cumulative capacity submitted for licensing at Zenabis Langley:
|Month||Cumulative Capacity Submitted for Licensing (Original Timeline)||Cumulative Capacity Submitted for Licensing (Revised Timeline)||Difference|
|October 2019||49,300 kg||49,300 kg||–|
|November 2019||96,100 kg||64,100 kg||(32,000 kg)|
|December 2019||96,100 kg||64,100 kg||(32,000 kg)|
|January 2020||96,100 kg||64,100 kg||(32,000 kg)|
|February 2020||96,100 kg||96,100 kg||–|
A summary of construction status by phase is provided below:
|Part 1||9,900 kg||
|Part 2A||39,400 kg||
|Part 2B||14,800 kg||
|Part 2C||32,000 kg||
On September 6, 2019, Zenabis received a cannabis processing license for Zenabis Stellarton. Zenabis commenced pre-roll production at Zenabis Stellarton during the week of September 9, 2019. Zenabis’ current pre-roll production capacity at Zenabis Stellarton is estimated at ~600 kg of pre-rolls per month. Zenabis intends to achieve output of 1,200 kg of pre-rolls per month at Zenabis Stellarton by November 2019, subject to market demand for pre-rolls.
In addition, as noted above, Zenabis has installed at Zenabis Stellarton the packaging equipment (for bud jar filling) previously used at Zenabis Atholville. Following completion of the ramp-up of this equipment, combined with the new packaging equipment in operation at Zenabis Atholville, Zenabis expects to have excess packaging capacity.
Zenabis is currently in the process of constructing extraction and post-processing capacity, a product development lab, a formulation design lab, and a full ISO certified analytical testing lab at Zenabis Delta. This construction project is expected to be complete in the first half of 2020.
Zenabis is currently in the process of various licensing applications for Zenabis Delta, Zenabis Langley, Zenabis Stellarton and the Zen Craft Grow program as outlined in the table below:
|License Submission||Submission Month||Annual Design Capacity|
|Zenabis Delta – Analytical Testing||May 2019||N/A|
|Zen Craft Grow – Grower 1||July 2019||350 kg|
|Zenabis Langley – Part 2A||September 2019||39,400 kg|
|Zenabis Stellarton – Sales License||October 20195||N/A|
|Zenabis Langley – Part 2B||November 20195||14,800 kg|
|Zenabis Langley – Part 2C||February 20205||32,000 kg|
5 Expected submission timeline subject to receipt of prior license or license amendment for each facility.
Zenabis is currently using Zenabis Pitt Meadows, Zenabis Aldergrove and Zenabis Langley for the Company’s propagation and floral business, as well as hemp cultivation activities. All hemp cultivation at Zenabis Aldergrove that uses greenhouse space is currently not being used by the propagation and floral business, and thus will not have a negative impact on Zenabis’ propagation and floral business. Hemp cultivation will neither interfere with the planned cannabis cultivation activities at Zenabis Langley, nor will it reduce the cannabis cultivation design capacity of Zenabis Langley.
Please view the following link for Zenabis operational update presentation:
Zenabis is a significant Canadian licensed cultivator of medical and recreational cannabis, as well as industrial hemp, and a propagator and cultivator of floral and vegetable products. Zenabis employs staff coast-to-coast, across facilities in Atholville, New Brunswick; Delta, Aldergrove, Pitt Meadows and Langley, British Columbia; and Stellarton, Nova Scotia. In addition to gaining technologically advanced knowledge of plant propagation, the recent addition of state-of-the-art greenhouses in Langley, Pitt Meadows and Aldergrove provides Zenabis with 3.5 million square feet of facility space that can, if fully converted, be dedicated to cannabis production.
If all facility space at Zenabis Atholville, Zenabis Stellarton and Zenabis Langley is fully converted and dedicated to production, Zenabis will own, and have access to 635,000 square feet of high quality indoor cannabis production space, as well as 2.1 million square feet of greenhouse cannabis production space at its Langley facility, with this production strategically positioned on Canada’s coasts. Zenabis expects these facilities to have an annual design capacity of 143,200 kg of dried cannabis under its existing capital plan. These facilities, if fully built out and converted for cannabis production, would have an annual design capacity to yield approximately 490,800 kg of dried cannabis annually, for both national and international market distribution. An additional 700,000 square feet of greenhouse space will be used to continue the existing propagation business and produce industrial hemp, and can be converted to cannabis production at such a time that is beneficial to the strategic position of the Company. The Zenabis brand name is used in the cannabis medical market, while the Namaste and Blazery brand names are used in the cannabis adult-use recreational market, and the True Büch brand name is used for Zenabis’ kombucha products.
Forward Looking Information
This news release contains statements that may constitute “forward-looking information” within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation. Forward-looking information may include, among others, statements regarding the future plans, costs, objectives or performance of Zenabis, or the assumptions underlying any of the foregoing. In this news release, words such as “may”, “would”, “could”, “will”, “likely”, “believe”, “expect”, “anticipate”, “intend”, “plan”, “estimate” and similar words and the negative form thereof are used to identify forward-looking statements. In this news release, forward-looking statements relate, among other things, to: the projected kilogram yield of licensed facility space and facility space in the process of, or scheduled for, construction and/or licensing; our expectations for future harvests; the expected timing and completion of current and planned conversion, expansion and optimization of our facilities, including Zenabis Atholville and Zenabis Langley; our expected budget for capital expenditures related to the conversion, expansion and optimization of our facilities, including Zenabis Atholville and Zenabis Langley; our plans for Zenabis Delta; the expected submissions of license amendment applications and site evidence packages; the licensing of our facilities and projected timing thereof; our expectations for our extraction projects, equipment and capacity; our expectations for processing output; our expectations regarding our packaging equipment; the timelines projected for the commencement of cultivation at Zenabis Langley; the effect of hemp cultivation on our cannabis cultivation abilities; and the expected content of future operational updates. Forward-looking statements should not be read as guarantees of future performance or results, and will not necessarily be accurate indications of whether, or the times at or by which, such future performance will be achieved. No assurance can be given that any events anticipated by the forward-looking information will transpire or occur. Forward-looking information is based on information available at the time and/or management’s good-faith belief with respect to future events and are subject to known or unknown risks, uncertainties, assumptions and other unpredictable factors, many of which are beyond Zenabis’ control. These risks, uncertainties and assumptions include, but are not limited to, those described in the shelf prospectus dated April 9, 2019, a copy of which is available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com and could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those projected in any forward-looking statements. Furthermore, any forward-looking information with respect to available space for cannabis production is subject to the qualification that management of Zenabis may decide not to use all available space for cannabis production, and the assumptions that any construction or conversion would not be cost prohibitive, required permits will be obtained and the labour, materials and equipment necessary to complete such construction or conversion will be available. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on the forward-looking statements and information contained in this news release. Zenabis does not intend, nor undertake any obligation, to update or revise any forward-looking information contained in this news release to reflect subsequent information, events or circumstances or otherwise, except if required by applicable laws.
For more information, visit: https://www.zenabis.com.
1 To better reflect the actual performance of its facilities, the Company reports a Performance Ratio, calculated as follows: after each harvest, Zenabis calculates the dry weight cannabis output for each room (the “Total Output”), taking into account the amount of days in production through a combination of: (1) the amount of flower room days used (including turnaround time) for that room; and (2) the amount of flower-room equivalent days required from other flower rooms in support of that harvest (together the “Effective Flower Room Equivalent Days”). Zenabis then divides the Total Output by the Effective Flower Room Equivalent Days in order to produce the “Effective Yield Per Day” for each room, and then divides the Effective Yield Per Day by the Design Capacity Yield Per Day for each room in order to determine actual performance versus the Design Capacity Yield Per Day (this ratio being the “Performance Ratio”). Zenabis believes that the Performance Ratio will provide investors with the best measure of actual cultivation performance versus Zenabis’ published design capacity. Zenabis intends to update and publish updated design capacities for each of its facilities when a facility has harvested from all its flower rooms (with the update at that time reflecting the most recent performance from each flower room) and again, if required due to significantly different results, when a facility achieves consistent monthly performance at a level that is different from its published Design Capacity. Zenabis revised its design capacity at Zenabis Atholville upwards by 35% (equal to Zenabis Atholville’s Performance Ratio for the three months ended June 30, 2019) from 34,300 kg per annum to 46,300 kg per annum. Zenabis no longer reports outperformance relative to original design capacity (the kg/day figure utilized to derive the 34,300 kg design capacity).
4 Zenabis defines substantial completion as the ability to undertake (subject to licensing) all production activities within the design capacity of the facility.