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Cannabis company Aphria looks to add consumer products brands as it waits for U.S. pot legalization – CNBC

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Irwin Simon, the CEO of Canadian cannabis company Aphria, is looking for additional opportunities to acquire brands in the consumer products space, hoping to grow beyond cannabis.

“There’s many opportunities in the U.S. right now with food and drink and other consumer products, and I know about how to build consumer brands and parlay that into cannabis once legalization happens,” Simon said in an interview on CNBC’s “Closing Bell” Monday.

Simon previously founded the consumer products company Hain Celestial Group, which specializes in natural and organic food, beverages and personal care items. He stayed with the company for over 25 years, acting as its CEO and chairman.

“Not knowing when [cannabis] legalization happens in the U.S., I want to continue to acquire certain businesses like a Sweetwater, like a Manitoba Harvest, that can parlay in the cannabis world once legalization happens with great margins, great growth and great distribution for us,” said Simon.

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The company acquired Sweetwater, an independent craft brewer in the U.S., in November. A month later, Aphria announced its merger plans with another Canadian cannabis company, Tilray, along with its hemp consumer product brand Manitoba Harvest, to form the largest cannabis company by revenue.

The company’s stock closed down 14% to $13.95 on Monday, after the company reported that coronavirus lockdowns in parts of Canada and Germany hurt sales of its products in its fiscal third quarter. Revenue tumbled from the second quarter to the third quarter, but was higher on a year-over-year basis.

For the three months ended Feb. 28, Aphria reported a net loss of $361 million Canadian dollars on revenue of $153.6 million Canadian dollars.

“In the U.S., we had a solid first full quarter of contribution from Sweetwater even with lower on-premise sales compared to the prior year quarter as many foodservice industry establishments were still operating with limited capacity,” said Simon in a press release.

Aphria shareholders are scheduled to vote on the Tilray deal on Wednesday. Tilray shares closed Monday at $17.19, down 13%.

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