Israeli firm Kanabo Research aims to become the first cannabis company to list on the London Stock Exchange as it bids to boost its fundraising drive.
Chief executive Avihu Tamir hopes to secure the listing in Q4 2019 after declaring that he sees greater potential in London than in more saturated markets. The world’s largest pot stocks have listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, while some are eyeing Nasdaq uplistings and Hamburg has been the main destination of choice in Europe.
Yet Tamir believes the LSE, the seventh largest exchange in the world, offers a better opportunity to drum up interest. The exchange has more than 3,000 listed companies, including BP, Barclays, and GlaxoSmithKline, with a combined market cap of $3.8 trillion, but there are no pot stocks.
Tamir hopes Kanabo Research can be the first, although he said he was unaware of the level of competition it faces. Naturally the LSE cannot comment on potential listings.
“In this industry, the first-mover advantage is significant,” said Tamir, adding that the first pot stocks to list in Canada remain the largest.
It is an interesting time to target London, as the UK is due to leave the European Union on Oct. 31. Sterling has tanked this week after Prime Minister Boris Johnson moved to prorogue parliament, seen as a means of pushing through a no-deal Brexit.
More than half a million Brits have signed a petition calling on proroguing to be stopped, opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn has vowed to fight it and Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has resigned. Critics fear that Brexit will make the UK more isolated and damage its economy, but Tamir is undaunted.
He aims to raise £4 million ($4.87 million) to conduct clinical trials and develop over-the-counter products, and he feels London will be receptive.
The UK legalized medical cannabis in 2018, although the industry is yet to get going due to resistance in the NHS. It does have one major cannabis company, GW Phamaceuticals, which produces Epidiolex and exports around the globe. It was listed on London’s Alternative Investment Market until 2016, but it is now listed on the Nasdaq.
Israel has a thriving medical cannabis industry and it recently legalized exports, although the first licences are yet to be granted.