Canada: Cannabis retailer Fire & Flower files for bankruptcy protection

Cannabis retailer Fire & Flower has been granted protection from creditors, the latest sign of trouble in Canada’s legal cannabis industry, and a blow to convenience store giant Alimentation Couche-Tard’s multimillion dollar move into the pot business.

According to court filings, Fire & Flower Holdings Corp. had just $8.1 million in cash on hand as of March 31, against $50.8 million in “current liabilities,” and is looking to sell its remaining assets.

“The applicants are unable or are expected to soon become unable to meet their obligations generally as they become due,” the company said in Ontario Superior Court filings before it was granted protection under the Companies Creditors’ Arrangement Act. The CCAA allows courts to give companies protection from their creditors, allowing them to continue operating while they restructure, as an alternative to declaring bankruptcy. Only companies that owe at least $5 million are eligible.

Fire & Flower is seeking to lay off an unspecified number of employees, and get out of leases for several of its 80 stores across the country. Some of Fire & Flower’s stores operate under the Friendly Stranger brand, which it took over in 2020.

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