South African CBD wellness brand Goodleaf has merged with cultivator Highlands Investments, formerly Canopy Growth Africa, to form a combined entity valued at almost US$50 million.

Under the terms of the deal, Highlands’ shareholders will have a 35% stake in the merged entity, with Goodleaf shareholders holding 65%. It will continue to trade as Goodleaf and Highlands Investments.

The transaction creates the largest vertically integrated cannabis operation in Africa, with investment of more than $25 million to date.

Goodleaf founder and CEO Warren Schewitz said: “This is a transformational transaction as we have diversified our business into a fully seed-to-sale offering. It provides a low-cost production base for our product range as we expand into global markets.”

“It’s always been our intention to create a world-class global brand, and as we scale, access to high-quality supply is essential, which Highlands affords.”

Highlands Investments founder Jody Aufrichtig added: “This combined offering will enable us to make significant inroads globally, because we can compete both on quality and price.”

Premium CBD brand Goodleaf has commercialised a portfolio of 30 products in multiple categories, and has a well-established distribution network in South Africa. Its products will soon be exported to retailers in Asia and Europe.

Highlands harvested its fourth outdoor crop in Lesotho in April, yielding almost six tonnes of premium cannabis, a significant portion of which is destined for the European medicinal cannabis market.

It will continue to supply bulk CBD and THC flower, distillate and isolate to global medicinal and wellness markets.