Off a dirt road outside Kingston, Jamaica, 300 marijuana plants sit in manicured rows overseen by a Rastafarian grow master who goes by the name “Bob on the Job.”
As Canadian pot producer Aphria Inc. tells it, the farm is part of its growing portfolio of international assets. For two U.S. short sellers, it’s one of the catalysts for an offensive that sent Aphria shares plunging in December. Hindenburg Research and Quintessential Capital Management questioned the farm’s existence and said Aphria overpaid for “largely worthless” assets in a three-country deal.
The truth, as uncovered by a tour of the Jamaican countryside and the back streets of Buenos Aires by Bloomberg, is more nuanced. In the nascent world of global pot investing, assets can be hard to document and even harder to value, though first-mover advantage may hold big rewards.
Aphria acquired LATAM Holdings Inc. in a September deal that the Leamington, Ontario-based company valued at C$193 million ($144 million) when it was announced and SOL Global Investments Corp., the seller, said was worth C$298 million when it closed. The assets include Marigold Projects, a licensed Jamaican grower, a pharmaceutical distribution warehouse in Argentina and licensed farmland in Colombia.
Read on about Aphria’s investments in the Caribbean and South America at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-01-05/pot-plants-thrive-on-jamaica-farm-aphria-short-sellers-doubted