AppHarvest, a leading US pioneer in sustainable, large-scale controlled environment agriculture, is to be publicly listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange after undertaking a reverse merger with Novus Capital, a publicly-traded special purpose acquisition company. The combined company will be led by Jonathan Webb, AppHarvest’s founder and CEO, and is expected to have an initial market value of around US$1 billion.
The company plans to redefine American agriculture by developing modern, 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, which AppHarvest estimates will lower transportation costs compared to existing growers by up to 80%.
It has already committed to building North America’s largest CEA facility – a US$97 million, 2,760,000ft² hydroponic greenhouse on 60 acres of land in Morehead, Kentucky. First produce scheduled to be harvested, in early 2021, will be tomatoes, a crop that has seen imports rise to 60% of all fresh tomatoes available in US stores, according to the company.
With plans to open further indoor facilities, and long-term distribution agreements in place to reach leading US grocers, AppHarvest has much to offer investors, including its strong relationships with leading agricultural and construction firms and universities in the Netherlands, a world leader in greenhouse technology. These close ties allow it to benefit from the most recent, proven technologies in an effort 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, according to the company.
“We are excited to transition AppHarvest to a public company and raise nearly a half a billion dollars in the process,” said Jonathan Webb, founder and CEO. “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 jeopardizes food security. 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 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,” added Bob Laikin, chairman of Novus Capital. “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.”
David Lee, CFO of Impossible Foods and an AppHarvest board member, concluded: “AppHarvest is working to solve the critical need for a more resilient and sustainable food supply chain — both of which are fundamental to the future of farming, our food ecosystem and our ability to ensure food security. I believe the company is building a scalable business that could revolutionize the business of food production in the United States.”