1. Commerce
October 29, 2018

Canadian cannabis companies eye Europe following home-grown success

By Lucy Ingham

Buoyed by the surging domestic cannabis market that has blossomed since Canada’s legalisation earlier this month, Canadian cannabis companies are now looking to expand into Europe.

Key in this space is Ontario-based Beleave, which today announced that it had signed an agreement with German medical cannabis company Canymed to supply medical cannabis in the country.

Under the agreement, Beleave will gain 10% ownership of Canymed, and first right of refusal to purchase an additional 20% in exchange for support, training, expertise and consultation. The company will also supply Canymed with 5,000kg of dry flower a year, at a price of €7 a gram.

According to the company, this is the first in a series of “strategic initiatives” in the European market, which, according to the European Cannabis Report published in July, is set to be worth £115bn by 2028.

“Medical cannabis has been legal in Germany since March 2017 and the country has quickly become one of the world’s largest federally-regulated medical cannabis markets,” said Beleave CEO, Andrew Wnek.

“Its growth continues to outpace other jurisdictions with similar regulations and was a natural target as we expand our distribution channel into Europe.”

Canadian cannabis companies look to Europe

Beleave is the latest in a number of Canadian cannabis companies that are positioning themselves to take advantage of the burgeoning European market.

At the start of this year, Aurora Cannabis completed a fraught takeover deal for CanniMed Theraputics that saw it acquire the company for $1.2bn CAD. Key to this was Aurora’s ambitions to enter the key medical cannabis markets of Denmark, Italy and Germany. CanniMed was seen as a vital pipeline towards this due to its medical cannabis research, which Aurora CEO Terry Booth told the Globe and Mail his company would be able to speed up.

“We will make that company far more money than they ever thought they could make,” he said, referring to the growing external markets.

Also of note was the acquisition of Nuuvera by Aphria in a deal valued at $826m CAD, which was also seen as a bid to strengthen the company as a key international player.

“As part of Aphria, we will have access to every tool we need to open key international markets and execute on our growth plan as part of a stronger, well-resourced global cannabis leader,” Lorne Abony, CEO of Nuuvera said of the deal.

The development of an industry

As Cannabis sees a growing rate of legalisation around the world, it is fuelling the rapid development of a legal industry, where everything from marketing to export is key.

With attitudes changing, key players in the food and beverage industry are now considering their own involvement, with the first Cannabis beer now under development, and even Coca-Cola considering using cannabis as an ingredient.

In areas where cannabis remains largely illegal, CBD is still seeing growing success, fuelled in particular by the growing sports supplement industry.

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