Pot stock eSense is soaring on UK deal but two others may have fallen over
It’s a case of win one, lose two for eSense Labs as it gains a UK customer but faces troubles with two earlier deals.
Today eSense Labs (ASX:ESE) said a UK company — which it won’t name — has been testing its synthetic cannabis food additives for the last six months and has ordered seven litres of a lemon strain for a food additive pilot.
The UK deal is exactly the relief investors were looking for after a challenging year including boardroom stoushes.
The shares jumped 73 per cent to 6.5c in early Tuesday trade — though that’s well down from a one-year high of 44.5c — on just $14,537 worth of purchases. The stock is now in a trading halt.
Israel-based eSense makes cannabis “terpene” formulations.
Terpenes are fragrant oils found in plants that carry flavour and aroma. They carry the pungent odour of cannabis and offer some medicinal properties — but they don’t contain THC, the compound that gets you stoned or cannabidiol (CBD), another restricted element in cannabis.
eSense says an agreement with the UK company is currently being negotiated.
Win one, lose two, another is delayed
On Monday Esense told investors in an ASX announcement it was having difficulties with two deals that were at the heart of a boardroom showdown earlier this year.
A three-year $1.1m deal with a UAE company called IC Access — which allegedly had a Bulgaria connection — and a $US470,000 deal in 2016 with Allow Vaporisers are in doubt.
On Monday eSense told investors that IC Access has never paid them any money, despite owing at least $366,000 before the end of September.
It says it’s renegotiating that deal.
eSense also said Allor Vaporisers only paid an initial $US85,000, which took place before September last year.
It has not paid $US385,000 which is allegedly outstanding.
eSense says it’s also trying to renegotiate that arrangement.
These two deals allowed the board to turn performance rights into stock for hitting a milestone of signing binding contracts worth at least $1m within a year of listing.
After ASX queries, the board agreed to cancel the conversion of the rights and the issue of new ones.
Another deal, signed in October last year with a company called Advanced Technology Management to buy at least $540,000 of the oils, has also been delayed.
While signing $2.1 million worth of deals over the last two years, eSense made just $US11,000 in revenue in the six months to June 30.
That was 79 per cent lower than what it made in the same period last year — and it only listed in February 2017.
The loss was almost the same however, at $1.2 million.
The accountant overseeing the half year results said there was “material uncertainty” over whether eSense could survive.
It had $951,000 in the bank and a cash burn of $1.3m.
This week the company said it had raised $3.15m from professional and institutional investors.