Australian medicinal cannabis producer Elixinol Global (ASX: EXL) has raised AU$40 million ($28.9 million) to fuel international growth after successfully completing a share placement scheme.

The firm listed on the ASX in January 2018 and raised an initial AU$20 million ($14.5 million) with an oversubscribed IPO. It’s ambitious in its expansion plans and it decided to issue 21,621,622 new placement shares to support an increase in exports to the US and Europe.

Elixinol is split into three key divisions: Elixinol Australia, which focuses on medicinal marijuana; Hemp Foods Australia, which sells hemp-based foods; and Elixinol USA, which sells hemp-based dietary supplements and skincare products. It’s based in Sydney, and is one of about 25 cannabis producers listed on the ASX.

The company raised the AU$40 million at AU$1.85 ($1.33), a 3.3% discount on the 15-day volume weighted average price. It has since gone up to AU$1.92, a sharp rise on the AU$1.37 it commanded on August 24.

“The global cannabis market is growing at a rapid rate and Elixinol Global recognizes the need to move quickly to leverage the opportunity around the business,” said chief executive Paul Benheim. “This funding ensures we can seize the market opportunities in front of us, and in doing so, propel the business toward its next phase of growth.”

Benhaim, who describes himself as a hemp industry pioneer, was born in London and discovered the nutritional qualities of hemp seed while in Canada in 1991. He travelled the world in a bid to learn as much as he could about it, and ended up becoming a hemp farmer in Australia. He founded Hemp Foods Australia in 1999 and Elixinol in 2014, with offices in Europe and Boulder, Colorado. It is committed to growing quality, organic crops, which it sells bulk and retail.

Benhaim said the company will use the funds it has raised to ramp up the capacity of its CBD production centre to meet increased demand from around the world. It will also hire new sales and marketing staff in the US and Europe, while building a medicinal cannabis facility in Australia once it receives a license from the country’s Office of Drug Control.

Earlier this week it restructured its Japanese business, as Benhaim hailed the potential of CBD and hemp-based products to thrive in “a health conscious” and “flourishing” market. In May 2018, it paid for the first ever CBD advertising billboard in Hapan, at Tokyo’s Omotesando train station.

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