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Langton-area Maricann resumes expansion following acquisition by Austrian-based CanAdelaar

Construction has made a welcome return to Maricann’s 217,000-square-foot Langton-area purpose-built cannabis production facility expansion.

Jennifer “Jenn” Ayotte Maricann CEO

“It’s good to see we are all working towards a common goal of success with a team who is all reading from the same sheet of music,” said Maricann Vice-President of Infrastructure, Jeff Ayotte.

A new chapter of opportunity for Maricann opened in April, 2020 through acquisition by Europe-an-based cannabis entity, CanAd-elaar.

CanAdelaar was founded in 2018, operating under the family-owned Ring International Holding umbrella. Ring, which began operations in 2000, currently en-gages in a diverse set of industries including metal processing, quick service restaurants and cannabis, and has been Austria’s fastest-growing company for the past five years. Its operational strategy includes identifying and acquiring companies it believes have inherent value and a strong team in place, but which may benefit from its managerial support and centralized efficiencies. Maricann’s acquisition is consistent with the multi-divisional group’s strategic transition from industrial B2B to consumer products.

Maricann VP of infrastructure Jeff Ayotte

It also leveraged Maricann’s status as one of only a handful of cannabis companies to achieve EU-GMP certification, a standard meeting the high requirements of the European medical system. Similarly stringent operational guidelines extend through the facil-ity’s recreational product, offering confidence in consistently-crafted results.

Senior CanAdelaar Operations Manager Daniel Ould-Slimane has enthusiastically accepted a long-term post to Maricann. A University of Vienna economics graduate with joint expertise in the European cannabis and petroleum industries, his assessment of Maricann during due diligence visits in January and March of 2020 was a decisive element in CanAdelaar’s investment decision. After the first six months of remote engagement with Maricann management due to travel restrictions, Ould-Slimane arrived onsite in November, 2020 after a two-week quarantine period, to directly oversee Maricann’s transition and integration.

In the ensuing time period, an infusion of committed private capital from the family-owned parent company has provided stability for Maricann’s existing workforce, and potential for additional employment opportunities. As per head office operational mantra, Maricann’s community-oriented commitment to increase area employment will prioritize working with local firms for associated services such as construction, marketing, sales and quality assurance.

Ould-Slimane is also pleased to announce cultivation manager Jennifer Ayotte’s promotion to Maricann CEO. The decision recognizes ‘outstanding performance by Ayotte and her committed cultivation staff’ says Ould-Slimane, resulting in increasing Health-Canada-licensed production of both medical and recreational cannabis since acquisition. Ayotte’s pragmatic, experience-based approach is credited for consistent recreational and medical production along with EU-GMP certification allowing export to Europe, where Ould-Slimane says Maricann’s medical cannabis has a high reputation.

Ayotte’s promotion is notable as a rare fe-male CEO in a male-dominated industry at the managerial level, but more so in CanAdelaar’s choice to prioritize her cannabis as well as business background. Rather than selecting a person with an unrelated MBA as is arguably more familiar, the company’s recognition of Ayotte’s holistic ‘ground up’ cannabis experience and demonstrated ability to deliver consistent, crafted product to a GMP standard, targeting experienced, knowledgeable consumers, combined with financial acumen, made her an obvious choice.

“Jenn exemplifies the qualities we are looking for to move Maricann forward,” Ould-Slimane credited. “In choosing her as our new CEO, we are giving customers a clear indication of what we stand for.”

Admittedly, the choice may not have been as immediately obvious to Ayotte, describing herself as ‘100 per cent surprised’ with the combined honour and responsibility, given previous experience companies often settle in and then make wholesale changes. Upon further reflection and increased familiarity however, Ayotte has come to understand she and CanAdelaar share approach, including that a business should operate in an efficient, cost-effective manner and grow in a cautious, market-driven manner. ‘Humbled’ by the trust placed in her, Ayotte looks forward to the shared challenge and opportunity.

“It’s a fresh start, a fresh start for Maricann to prove what we’ve known all along, to continue the hard work and grow in the industry.”

Assessment, alignment, sales team orientation, branding and design dominated the bal- ance of 2020 since acquisition, but strong performance by a highly-trained 36-member team whose ability to pivot seamlessly between cultivation and production has provided an advanced base for Maricann to embrace 2021 goals. They include, says Ould-Slimane, a multi-million-dollar in- vestment toward incrementally bringing the expansion’s additional grow capacity online in a measured approach.

“Not in one go,” he clarified. “But in smaller phases.”

Completion of Maricann’s visionary purpose-built cannabis production facility expansion will triple current capacity and provide unique climate control, fertigation and data compilation within an environmentally-sustainable framework.

It was a ‘dark day’ when contractors left the site, says Jeff Ayotte, welcoming a graduated return within a precisely-budgeted approach. “The whole team from contractors through maintenance are happy with the direction,” he added, excited about the prospect of being in the new building.

“It’s pretty easy, all I’ve got to do is construction stuff - with a great team. We look forward to finishing the goal of increasing Langton’s footprint on the map of world-class suppliers of medical and recreational cannabis.”

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