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Voyager Life looks from pharmacies to pets to continue growing

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Voyager Life [AQSE:VOY], the CBD (Cannabidiol) and hemp products producer and retailer is this week’s Aquis-focus company.

Founded in 2020 in Perth, Scotland, by CEO Nick Tulloch, at outset the firm secured GBP500,000 in seed funding, then followed this up a year later by raising a further GBP874,000 in one week through a crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs – the first CBD business to do so.

The company continued to be well-supported, securing another GBP741,000 in April 2021 through a private placement, before debuting on Aquis in June, raising a further GBP400,000 in the IPO.

Voyager Life’s white label potential

Voyager has three product lines: Voyager CBD, which focuses on CBD edibles and topicals (skincare) including pet products; Ascend Skincare, which produces a range of botanical-infused skincare products; and VoyagerCann, a CBD-focused manufacturing business that white-labels CBD and hemp products for other retailers.

The company initially grew through organic growth by building partnerships with pharmaceutical companies who would then distribute its products to retailers such as independent pharmacies, and placed its products with pet care retailers Pets at Home LON:PETS and Jollyes, but has also sought to grow through acquisition – for example buying Cannafull and Ascend Skincare in December 2021. The firm has also invested in its own retail footprint, having three retail outlets in Dundee, Edinburgh and St Andrews where customers can refill their CBD products.

Voyager Life has also invested in its manufacturing facilities, raising GBP550,000 through investors in December 2022, with which in-part it tried to purchase a CBD extraction and manufacturing facility in Poland from Goodbody Health Limited for around of GBP1.5m. The company extracted itself from Poland in July 2023 and did not complete the acquisition.

Acquisition strategy

Amphora, a manufacturer of a range of CBD oils, vapour products and accessories joined the group at the start of this year, paid for through the issue of 416,666 new ordinary shares for around GBP50,000, with a potential additional issue if Amphora sales exceed GBP100,000. Then Voyager’s management took an interest in buying Jersey-headquartered Northern Leaf, a cultivator and processor of pharmaceutical-grade medical cannabis flower.

However, the proposed merger fell though at the start of last month, with Tulloch saying: “The principal reason for the termination was that the fundraising to support the proposed merger could not be completed in line with Northern Leaf’s requirements for financing its business plan.” Northern Leaf was financially distressed, and Voyager saw its ‘rescue’ as a great opportunity to vertically integrate its operations. However, both companies set an April target for completion, but: “in spite of best efforts by both parties, a combination of the Easter holiday period and slower investor response times made it clear that the fundraising was unlikely to complete within the targeted timeframe,” said Tulloch, and Voyager Life was forced to withdraw its offer.

The company, said Tulloch, has always believed that eventually the cannabidiol sector would consolidate, and having developed its retail footprint, and built-up its product range and third-party manufacturing output (investing in greater automation), that it wanted to bring the primary segment of the sector under its wing.


Voyager Life half-year revenues up 22% YoY

Financially, according to the company’s last results to end-September 2023, for the six-month period Voyager reported revenues of GBP165,000, up 22% year-on-year, but was still in loss-making territory, reporting a loss before tax of GBP528,000, up from GBP511,000 a year earlier, but that said the company had GBP625,000 of cash and inventory.

The company said: “[Voyager] made a loss after tax for the period of GBP501,000. The now-ended venture in Poland absorbed additional costs which the directors estimate at approximately GBP60,000 for the period (including direct costs incurred in Poland, additional staffing in the UK and travel expenses).  Another significant contribution to the cost base was the audit fee for the year ended 31st March 2023.  At GBP60,000 this was a considerable increase on the previous year with around one quarter of the fee being attributed to Voyager’s Polish operations.  Consequently, the company is accruing a high level of fees for the current year.”

Voyager shares opened the week (7th May) at 4p, but were trading around 4.375p by CoB. Over one-year shares have fallen from 11.25p, a drop of 64%. Over the year-to-date Voyager is down 60%. The company has a market capitalisation of GBP630,000.

Cannabis sector set to grow 25% annually

The cannabis sector is set to grow globally at around 25% annually through to 2030. It is a trendy new sector, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t offer sustainable and long-term opportunities for investors. The scope is very broad, from serious lab-coated pharmacists looking for biotech breakthroughs, arable farmers switching product from food to hemp crops, through to retailers in liberal states in America and Europe, selling both CBD products as well as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) products.

At the moment the industry is quite fractious, spanning the gamut from retail through to ancillary support, however the industry is already consolidating, and Voyager Life’s desire to vertically integrate its business could see the company pull up some trees in the next few years.

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This article does not constitute investment advice. Make sure you do your own research or consult a professional advisor.

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