The chief executive officer of Aphria will leave his post at the head of the producer of cannabis, a decision he attributed to the impact of his job on his health, his family and his personal priorities – but which, according to Vic Neufeld, is not related to recent allegations from short sellers that have leaded to the action of the company.
The corporation of Leamington, Ontario, also announced on Friday that co-founder, Cole Cacciavillani, would leave its current position over the next few months, but that he and Mr. Neufeld would remain both on the board of directors of Aphria.
The past five years have been an “incredible journey”, but it is time that a management team of “globally-oriented” leads Aphria to its next chapter, ” said Mr. Neufeld.
“It was simply the right time for us to withdraw,” he explained to analysts during a conference call to discuss the latest quarterly results of Aphria. “This has nothing to do with the ratio of short sellers. (…) It was the right time.”
Mr. Neufeld stated that he and Mr. Cacciavillani will enter into immediately the process of transition, and that at the appropriate time, they délaisseraient both their executive positions.
The shares of Aphria rose Friday after-noon of 47 cents, or 5.4 %, to close at 9,18 $ on the Toronto stock Exchange, after rising earlier in the session, up to 9.55 $.
Aphria has been criticized, last fall, by a firm that specializes in the short sale, which raised some doubts on its acquisitions in Colombia, Argentina and Jamaica. Its shares have plunged following the publication of the report of Quintessential Capital Management and the Hindenburg Research.
Aphria has rejected the accusations contained in the report, while forming a special committee of independent directors to study its details.
This independent committee made “good progress”, pointed out Friday, Mr. Neufeld.
Aphria has also received, at the end of last year, a hostile bid on the part of Xanthic Biopharma, a us company of Ohio, whose activities are operated under the banner of Green Growth Brands. Aphria has rejected this offer, arguing that it was too low.
There is no active offer for the company, said Mr. Neufeld, analysts, and the board of directors of Aphria has put in place an independent committee of directors to examine the proposals and the conduct of formal bids received.
The company has posted Friday income of $ 21.7 million for its second quarter, which was marked by the legalization of cannabis recreational in Canada. During the same period a year earlier, its revenue was $8.5 million.
Analysts expected on average, on revenue of $ 37.9 million, according to forecasts gathered by Thomson Reuters Eikon.
Aphria has also earned a profit of $ 54.8 million $, or 22 cents per share, for the quarter ended 30 November, compared to a profit of $ 6.5 million, or 5 cents per share, a year earlier.
The company has attributed this rise in profits to gains on its portfolio of long-term investments, primarily divestitures in Hiku Brands and Liberty Health Sciences.