Elixinol says it’s the first ASX cannabis stock to turn a profit
Health & Biotech
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Of the three pot stocks to have reported half or full year results in 2018, only one has posted a profit: Elixinol Global.
There are another 25 pot stocks, including newcomer IDT Australia (ASX:IDT), yet to release their financial results.
There were suggestions that Blackmore’s (ASX:BKL) was entering the market last year, but the company made no mention of medical cannabis in its annual report this week.
Elixinol (ASX:EXL) shifted from a $700,000 loss in the first half of 2017 to a $100,000 profit in the first six months of this year, while revenue doubled to $14.9 million.
Given how new the hemp and medical cannabis sectors is in Australia, Elixinol may be the only company to turn a profit in fiscal 2018.
The growth came from the hemp division, which is currently the bulk of the business. A small medical cannabis division is being set up in Australia.
The company speculated in its annual report that it’s now the third biggest player in that space in the US.
“This is a solid first half-yearly result for Elixinol Global and we are delighted to be the only ASX listed company in this sector to record a profit,” said CEO Paul Benhaim.
“The regulatory change in Australia last year [in November] making the sale of hemp-food products legal has resulted in significant growth for our Hemp Foods Australia business.”
He says they’re closely watching the 2018 Farm Bill legislative changes in the US which will federally legalise hemp farming.
The bill, of which hemp is just a part, only requires a signature from President Donald Trump to become law.
Hemp contains low levels of cannabidiol (CBD) and the bill could legalise CBD in the US even as THC remains illegal federally.
CBD is the non-psychoactive component in marijuana and hemp.
“[The bill], if passed, will strengthen our Elixinol business considerably and its ability to accelerate growth in trade nationally,” Mr Benhaim said.
“In the Hemp Foods Australia business, new product offerings will be launched with the support of an enhanced sales and marketing function. Elixinol Australia is awaiting approval from the Office of Drug Control for its submitted cultivation and manufacturing [medical cannabis] licences.”
Elixinol applied for a growers licence and a manufacturing licence early this year.
Mr Benhaim told Stockhead they have heard back from the ODC requesting more information for the growers licence, but not the division that is looking after manufacturing licence applications.
He says the ODC is by its own admission under-resourced.
Hemp foods in Australia reaped revenue of $2.3 million, but the medical cannabis business did not and combined they made a $562,000 loss.
The hemp business in the US delivered revenue of $12.5 million.
The company’s only debt is a $250,000 loan to the Australian hemp business from a company controlled by Mr Benhaim.
Elixinol shares rose just over 1 per cent on Wednesday morning to $1.45.
Mr Benhaim told Stockhead that Japan is first on their list for new countries to expand into, where he has been building relationships in Japan for two decades.
They own 10 per cent of Hemp Foods Japan and 25 per cent of Elixinol Japan, and he says 2019 will be when that country starts to get interesting.
“Japan has a population, not much less, than the US with very much high disposable income, which is partly why we think it’s a very interesting market,” he said.
Marketing there has been led by the first mainstream billboards for in Tokyo train stations for hemp CBD products, and Mr Benhaim says that he was even able to meet the President’s wife on his last trip there and she was very supportive of their brands.
Mr Benhaim hopes Japan will be a stepping stone into Asia.