After a period of financial uncertainty following its Chapter 11 Bankruptcy filing in June, US vertical farming leader Aerofarms has today announced the successful completion of its restructuring process and exit from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
In July Aerofarms signed an Asset Purchase Agreement (APA) with a newly formed entity – AF NewCo, Inc. – owned by a group of existing Aerofarms investors. This APA has been approved by the bankruptcy court.
The restructuring substantially strengthens AeroFarms’ balance sheet, injecting the necessary funds to reach profitability at the firm’s flagship operation in Danville, Virginia. The company says that it has eliminated spending on all projects that do not contribute to the ramp-up of the Danville Farm, thereby accelerating its path to profitability.
The completion of several automation projects has increased the throughput and efficiency of the Danville vertical farm, with the firm set to gear up production there by year end 2023 with an eye on profitability soon after. Currently, AeroFarms microgreens can be found in over 2,000 retail locations throughout the United States, including nationwide at Whole Foods Market stores and in regional locations of Ahold Delhaize, Harris Teeter, H-E-B, and others.
Stephan Dolezalek, Managing Partner of existing investors Grosvenor Food & AgTech (GFA) says this marks a new chapter in the maturity and growth of AeroFarms: “AeroFarms’ founders established the world’s most advanced vertical farming technology. We have now put in place changes needed to deliver on their vision. As an investor dedicated to creating a more sustainable global food supply chain, we see vertical farms as a critical part of the solution and are now focused on efficiently scaling our operations to deliver a market-leading product through a profitable business model.”
To lead AeroFarms through its next stage of growth, Molly Montgomery, a veteran of the food and agricultural industry and a Venture Partner with Grosvenor Food & AgTech, has been appointed Acting CEO and Executive Chairperson of the AeroFarms Board of Directors. Ms. Montgomery currently serves as a board director for companies across the agricultural supply chain, including Wilbur-Ellis, The Wine Group, Custom Made Meals (CMM), and Benson Hill. Ms. Montgomery brings invaluable operational experience from successfully scaling profitable businesses within the fresh food sector. Most recently, she served as a CEO of CMM, a private-equity owned company in the fresh protein sector. Prior to CMM, she served as CEO of Landec Corporation, a public company with Curation Foods, Landec’s largest business unit, a provider of fresh, packaged vegetables and salad kits.
“As we face the mounting challenges of climate change and food insecurity, we need to rethink our global food supply chain,” said Molly Montgomery. “AeroFarms is a testament to the innovative thinking required to deliver highly nutritious food in a more sustainable and cost-efficient manner. The Danville Farm is an impressive operation, leveraging proprietary technology to deliver a fresh product that is less vulnerable to climate-related threats. I am looking forward to working with Guy Blanchard, the newly named AeroFarms President, and the rest of the AeroFarms team to complete the ramp-up of the Danville facility and to deliver a profitable operation that will enable future growth.”
Aerofarms will continue to provide regular updates as specific elements of its strategic plan and Chapter 11 filing meet targeted milestones.
Court filings and other documents related to the reorganization proceedings are available on a separate website administered by the Company’s claims agent, Omni, at www.omniagentsolutions.com/aerofarms or www.deb.uscourts.gov, the official Bankruptcy Court website.