On Wednesday, Village Farms International (VFF -8.48%) began shipping cannabis to the most important outfit in the Canadian province of Alberta -- the Alberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis Commission. The AGLC is the provincial wholesaler to a network of more than 400 retail stores, and the only authorized online retailer in the province.
Only 12% of Canada's citizens live in Alberta, but the Rocky Mountain province punches above its weight when it comes to licensed marijuana sales. In 2019, 22% of all retail cannabis sales in the country originated in Alberta, making it the second-largest provincial market overall.
Village Farms will supply Alberta with cannabis products through a joint venture (JV) called Pure Sunfarms. In late 2019, Village Farms owned around 53.5% of the JV.
Gold star for Pure Sunfarms
During the first nine months of 2019, when Village Farms' owned a little less than half of Pure Sunfarms, the JV contributed $5.0 million to its adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA). This figure should rise significantly thanks to new sales from Alberta and the rising popularity of its products among discerning consumers.
The Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) is the sole legal online seller of cannabis in the country's most populous province. According to the OCS, Pure Sunfarms was its top-performing brand of dried cannabis flower by sales and volume in the fourth quarter.
Though it competes head to head with dozens of other cannabis producers, 13% of the dry flower sold during the last three months of 2019 was from the Pure Sunfarms brand. If the JV can achieve similar results in Alberta, 2020 will be a great year for Village Farms International.