No money in marijuana yet: Aussie pot stocks still not making cash from cannabis
Health & Biotech
Ben Franklin is having a great time. Nellie Melba, not so much. Pic: Getty
It’s almost two years after medical marijuana was legalised and Australia’s cannabis businesses are still not yet making any money.
According to quarterly reports out this week from the country’s biggest grower Cann Group (ASX:CAN), as well as AusCann (ASX:AC8), The Hydroponics Company (ASX:THC), Zelda Therapeutics (ASX:ZLD), and CannPal (ASX:CP1), none are making money from cannabis in Australia.
The only income listed for the businesses was interest, and in CannPal’s case a government R&D refund.
Only MMJ Phytotech (ASX:MMJ) is making money, $43,000 for the quarter, after it started shipping cannabis pills to Australia in November. It’s not clear if this revenue is from that business however, or from its Canadian investees.
BOD Australia (ASX:BDA), which also deals in non-cannabis skin creams and nutraceuticals, and LifeSpot Health (ASX:LSH) whose main business is in telemedicine, both made money but none was from their cannabis-related products.
The Hydroponics Company did make $821,000 in the quarter, but it all came from the Canadian arm of the business.
Almost all of Australia’s cannabis companies began securing licences last year, which is allowing them to begin growing operations or medical trials.
CannPal, a biotech company, intends to run its first trials this quarter as does Zelda.
Growers only just ramping up
Cann Group and AusCann are launching their growing operations.
Cann Group does have $66 million available in cash after raising $78 million in December to pay for serious expansion plans.
It only plans to spend about $4.5 million this quarter however, and mostly on plant and equipment purchases.
“While construction at the southern facility is largely complete, and cultivation is now running at maximum capacity, further work is planned to house new imported strains in secure “mother rooms” at the southern and northern facilities,” Cann Group told investors.
“Work is also underway for site selection and planning of the phase 3 facility.”
Cann shares were down 4.3 per cent at midday to $3.13.
AusCann has $12.4 million available to spend, which it is doing on R&D this coming quarter.
“AusCann expects to plant its first Australian crop using imported genetics in Tasmania in early 2018,” AusCann told investors.
“Prior to the establishment of its Australian manufacturing operations, the company will begin to import cannabinoid medicines from its strategic partner, Canopy Growth Corporation for supply to Australian patients.”
AusCann managing director Elaine Darby says the company now has the right ingredients in place to produce and supply medical cannabis medications to the Australian market.
Auscann shares were down 2.7 per cent to $1.62.
Clinical trials beginning this quarter
Zelda has $6.6 million on hand to pay for upcoming pre-clinical cancer research in Spain, US and Chile autism trials and an insomnia trial with the University of WA Centre for Sleep Science.
CannPal has $5.7 million on hand for its initial pharmacokinetic and observational studies in dogs.
This is their first quarterly as they listed in October last year.
As biotech companies developing drugs, neither company is expected to start generating revenue for some years.
Zelda’s shares ticked up 4 per cent after it released its quarterly report, to 12.5c, while CannPal was flat at 22.5c.
BOD Australia still saw negative cashflow of $319,000 despite making $188,000 in the quarter.
That was driven by sales of non-cannabinoid natural medicines and cosmetics both locally and internationally.
LifeSpot Health made $196 million in the last quarter, largely thanks to a partnership with health product distributor BBraun.
But it spent a whopping $583,000 on corporate costs after a business restructure in December.
BOD shares turned down by 3.6 per cent to 53c and LifeSpot Health shares dumped 6 per cent to hit 15.5c.
Investor Eve (ASX:EVE) didn’t even make money on its non-hemp or cannabis products.