The US-based company seeks to raise $375 million in equity transactions through a merger with Nasdaq-listed Novus Capital
Man looking at tomato plants in an indoor farm
Photo as seen on AppHarvest Facebook page

Indoor farming business AppHarvest has revealed plans to go public through a special purpose acquisition company, SPAC. The Morehead, Kentucky-based company is to merge with Novus Capital, an investment and financial services company listed on Nasdaq.

Upon closing of the transaction, the combined company will be named AppHarvest and is expected to remain listed on Nasdaq under a new ticker symbol. The combined company will be led by Jonathan Webb, AppHarvest’s founder and chief executive.

AppHarvest expects to raise $375 million in equity transactions from new and existing investors. Besides Novus Capital, other investors include Fidelity Management and Research, and Inclusive Capital, all committed to a share price of $10, bringing the company value to $1 billion.

“We are excited to transition AppHarvest to a public company and raise nearly a half a billion dollars in the process,” said Webb. “This will allow us to pursue our mission of transforming agriculture. A mission that’s become even more important since the global pandemic exposed how a rapidly increasing reliance on imports jeopardises food security.”

AppHarvest indoor farming

AppHarvest’s core business is bringing traditional agriculture techniques into modern technology to grow non-GMO and non-chemical products.

The company is developing large-scale and efficient indoor farms in Central Appalachia, a water-rich region strategically located within a day’s drive of approximately 70% of the US population.

Webb continued: “We now know that to build a more resilient food system that meets our growing population demands, we must immediately start building controlled environment agriculture facilities, as these farms use far fewer resources to grow far more produce. We believe that this partnership with Novus Capital is a transformative transaction which will allow us to both rapidly scale our agriculture facilities, in pursuit of our goal to redefine American agriculture and build the country’s AgTech capital within Appalachia. Together we can transform agriculture.”

AppHarvest claims to have strong relationships with the leading agricultural and construction firms and universities in the Netherlands, the world’s leader in high-tech controlled environment indoor farms.

The Netherlands, despite a land mass similar in size to Eastern Kentucky, is the world’s second-largest agricultural exporter behind only the US due to its extensive network of controlled environment agriculture facilities.

These relationships allow the AppHarvest to utilise the most recent proven technologies to sustainably increase crop yields, improve access to nutritious, non-GMO food, build a consistent and safe US-grown food supply for national grocers, and increase investment in Appalachia.
AppHarvest operates a 60-acre controlled environment agriculture facility in Morehead, one of the largest high-tech greenhouses in the world, and has an active development pipeline for additional large-scale indoor controlled environment farm projects.

Bob Laikin, chairman of Novus Capital, commented: “AppHarvest is a unique and compelling investment opportunity that is redefining American agriculture by improving access for all to fresh non-GMO produce, growing more with fewer resources, and creating an AgTech hub from within Appalachia.

“With significant tailwinds from heightened investor focus on ESG initiatives and the secular shift to plant-based foods, we believe AppHarvest is well-positioned to execute on its strategy for rapid growth and value creation.”

Upon the closing of the transaction, AppHarvest will retain its management team, which will be joined by Peter Halt as its chief financial officer.

Halt is a seasoned finance professional with several years of experience as a publicly traded company CFO, most recently having served as the CFO for TiVo Corporation, up until its announced acquisition by Xperi Corporation.

Date published: 2 October 2020

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