Canopy Growth breaks out Canadian operations in new unit, lays off 55

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Canopy Growth Corp. says it will be breaking out its Canadian cannabis operations into a stand-alone business unit and laying off 55 staff.

Brenna Eller, the Smiths Falls-based pot company’s vice-president of communications, says the move is meant to help the company reach profitability.

She did not say what roles the laid-off workers had or where they were located.

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As part of the changes, Eller says Dave Paterson will now serve as its president of Canadian operations.

Patterson, who most recently served as chief commercial officer of cannabis producer Indiva, is expected to drive greater accountability as the company tries to find sustainable growth.

Eller says Julious Grant, Canopy’s chief commercial officer, will also leave the company “to pursue other opportunities.”

“Through the changes announced today, our executive structure and operations are now more closely aligned with the areas of greatest opportunity and reflect Canopy Growth’s resolute focus on achieving profitability in Canada,” Eller said in a statement.

“Together with our recently announced strategy for fast tracking entry into the U.S., these adjustments further position Canopy Growth to realize our ambition of North American cannabis market leadership.”

The decision comes as Canopy continues to ramp up its operations south of the border amid growing access to legalized pot in the U.S.

Canopy announced last month that it will create a new U.S.-domiciled company to hold and help it exercise its rights over U.S. cannabis companies Acreage, Wanna, Jetty and TerrAscend Corp.

Canopy is dual-listed on both the Toronto Stock Exchange and Nasdaq Composite.

The move to create a U.S.-domiciled entity came after President Joe Biden said earlier this year he would pardon people convicted under federal law of possessing cannabis and signalled he’s willing to revisit whether the drug should remain a controlled substance.

In the U.S. midterm elections earlier this month, Maryland and Missouri voted in favour of adult-use legalization of cannabis, and several analysts called the overall results of the midterms “likely positive” for  investors.

In recent financial filings, Canopy reported a loss in its second quarter as its revenue fell compared with a year ago.

Its net loss amounted to $231.9 million or 47 cents per diluted share for the quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with a net loss of $16.3 million or three cents per share a year ago.

The bigger loss was primarily due to non-cash fair value changes and an increase in asset impairment and restructuring costs, partially offset by improved margins.

Net revenue for the three-month period amounted to $117.9 million, down from $131.4 million in the same quarter last year.

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