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US: AppHarvest becomes a public agtech company and appoints president

Company plans up to 12 large-scale indoor controlled-environment farm projects in the next five years
Photo as seen on AppHarvest Facebook page

Morehead, Kentucky-based Certified B Corp agtech company AppHarvest has gone public through Nasdaq-listed special purpose acquisition company Novus Capital Corp.

The combined company, AppHarvest Inc, will be led by Jonathan Webb, AppHarvest’s founder and chief executive.

AppHarvest builds and operates large high-tech indoor farms to grow sustainable chemical pesticide-free non-GMO fruit and vegetables and says it uses 90% less water than traditional open-field agriculture and 100% recycled rainwater.

The company stated that it has strong relationships with agricultural and construction firms and universities in the Netherlands, where controlled environment indoor farms are at an advanced stage. It also operates a 60-acre controlled environment agriculture facility in Morehead which it expects to produce around 45 million pounds of tomatoes annually, and has a development pipeline until 2025 for up to 12 large-scale indoor controlled-environment farm projects.

Webb said: “Today marks an important milestone for AppHarvest and for American agriculture as we drive the next chapter of our growth as a public company. The capital we raised in this transaction will further advance our mission of transforming agriculture by developing large-scale sustainable food production in the heart of Central Appalachia. We currently import nearly half of all fresh vine crops sold in the US. To create a more resilient food system, we must farm more efficiently and closer to where the food is needed.”

AppHarvest has also appointed David Lee as president. Lee was previously chief financial officer and chief operating officer at Impossible Foods and has experience of retail and consumer industries having also worked at Del Monte and Zynga.

Lee said: “In a marketplace where consumers are more knowledgeable and conscientious than ever about the food they buy, we have a tremendous opportunity at AppHarvest to build a trustworthy sustainable foods brand that people care about. Customers are craving better quality food options – and ones they can feel better about because the company is socially conscious and environmentally responsible.”

Bob Laikin, chairman of Novus Capital, said: “Jonathan Webb and his talented team at AppHarvest have established a unique platform for rapid growth and value creation that will be further strengthened by this transaction and entrance into the public markets. We look forward to seeing the team capitalise on the attractive opportunities that lie ahead given the heightened investor focus on ESG initiatives and the secular shift to plant-based foods, as AppHarvest continues to redefine American agriculture.”

AppHarvest stated that early sales from its first harvest means it can reaffirm its guidance on full-year 2021 net revenue of $21 million and adjusted EBITDA of $41 million.

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