Another day, another change in leadership in the cannabis sector. We’ve already had a look at 2 CEO departures/arrivals earlier this month ($ACB & $CRON), and two more outfits have announced changes this week.
First, Radient Technologies ($RTI) announced they’ll be undertaking a strategic review of operations, with an eye to addressing costs and ‘under-utilized’ assets. Oh, and
they fired President and CEO Denis Taschuk has departed the company immediately, with family reasons cited for the departure. The COO is also leaving, and said to be now pursuing other interests (regime changes typically take out the loyalists at the same time as the head).
Well. That took awhile. We’ve taken several shots at $RTI (fairly we believe) over the year long biomass boomerang they got suckered into with $ACB.
‘Suckered’ you say Molly? C’mon, it takes two to tango. One person alone can’t get pregnant, right?
That’s right, nobody was ‘suckered’, and I put this on Taschuk exclusively. Dead in the middle of his signature on that very PO.
He ran his own shop – for more than 5 years – before deciding to become a bigger shop by going public and pivoting into cannabis. He laid down with $ACB, promptly fell in love, and completely forgot he should have kept himself in the dating pool.
GoBlue said something the other day that becomes more prescient to me since the related party disclosure has now caught up with the related party reality that Taschuk placed himself in. That Cam Battley’s claims of wholesale run rates being manufactured by $ACB themselves. To me, with $RTI tied to $ACB – with the capital injections and sales deals – Taschuk probably had a good time having them run his business for him. Too bad he didn’t run it for the benefit of shareholders.
Harsh? Yep. Why? Because he was in charge of his own shop, he made the decisions, and he signed the deals. He could have, and should have tried to build his business and not set it on cruise control. Hindsight or no.
This ignores that maybe, just maybe, all extractors are facing an extremely limited sales pipeline, increasing LP capabilities, and a supply glut of raw and processed extract that’s worthless unless joined with a brand that sells, and distribution that’ll keep product moving. Still, even if that is the case, he’s had 2 years to address all of this. Given the condition this company is in ($ACB ain’t picking up the dinner check anymore), I don’t see this as harsh at all. Nor do the people who dropped $7MM more into this outfit via ATM raises over the past several months. Based upon guidance that looks like it was written by the Brothers Grimm.
Whether or not 3rd party deals have dried up or not, the business angle here is pretty straightforward. I’d guess that like $LABS, $RTI didn’t have a distribution plan in place for proprietary products or diversifying revenue. Perhaps they couldn’t get one intact until now (that’s really charitable).
But $ACB did, for sure. Their 2.0 has pathways off of the loading dock, but as $CANN and $LABS and $PUMP and $JWC (and to a lesser degree, $VLNS) have found out…..that without distribution and facings………the loading dock may be full of finished inventory, but sales will be like drilling a dry hole. Just like $RTI.
The interim fella they’ve appointed is an M.Eng, an MBA (Harvard), and was a Managing Director (MD) at Goldman Sachs in Merchant Banking. I heard once that the authority the rank of Colonel has in an operational theatre of war is absolute: I can tell you first hand that an MD in an investment bank fits that description. And his appointment is perfectly in-character for a shop that sports credentials so seriously. Investors are probably hoping the new guy takes making money as seriously as they pack titulars.
To myself, without some sort of catalyst, $RTI’s a dead horse.
Zenabis ($ZENA) replaced their interim CEO Kevin Coft with a (presumeably) permanent solution, from an executive search they initiated last December. They went with ‘CPG Veteran’ Shai Altman – and I offer him a firm handshake, and a hearty ‘best of luck good Sir!’.
They also announced they secured another raise, this time for $6MM. And….from their Annual General Meeting yesterday, we see the departures of both former CEO Andrew Grieve (the author of the ‘rights’ infamy) and Leo Benne (Chief Growing Officer).
Notable from that shareholder meeting was the results of the votes for Directors. How’d it go?
In terms of enthusiasm for the slate, one could say that said ‘enthusiasm’ was somewhat muted. That’d be the nice way to put it. 20% of the shareholders voting against installing the CEO as a director would be a serious issue in most other PubCo’s – but legal cannabis (and $ZENA) being in the state its’ currently in, these results are probably viewed as ‘ok, we’ve got some work to do”.
Besides, the creditors are putting in the new CEO – not the regular shmoe. The investor hasn’t mattered since Grieve’s ‘rights’ stunt.
Anyhow, with $10MM in the bank, they’re staring at assets for sale that’ve been on the market for months, some 700MM shares out (another 300MM in options/warrants), and $35MM in current liabilities.
Best of luck Mr. Altman. Aside from knowing the CPG space, I hope you’re adroit at dealing with debenture holders. The ones from 2018 probably aren’t gonna have much of an appetite to amend a third time.
The preceding is the opinion of the author, and is in no way intended to be a recommendation to buy or sell any security or derivative. The author holds no position in $RTI nor $ZENA