FOLLOWING a difficult few weeks for European cannabis stocks, last week saw many enjoy a recovery amid a flurry of positive announcements from both the industry and individual companies.
This recovery was reflected in the markets at large, which continued to regain losses seen after the break-out of war in Ukraine.
Throughout the week the FTSE 250 recovered a further 3%, marking an 8.5% rise from lows in early March, while cannabis stocks on the NASDAQ reacted well to news that the psilocybin legalisation movement is getting off to a very slow start.
This strong performance may well have provided a serendipitous boost for Akanda, a new addition to our stock chart this week.
After choosing to postpone its IPO, originally expected on February 25, in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine, UK cannabis firm Akanda listed 4m shares on the NASDAQ on March 15.
Its stock began trading at $10.5, soaring some 160% over the IPO price of $4, hitting highs of nearly $20 throughout the day.
Akanda’s stock has stabilised throughout the week, dropping 25% on its third day of trading to sit at just over $8.
It officially closed its offering on March 17, confirming that it had successfully raised $16m in gross proceeds.
DeepVerge, a UK biotech firm which produces a range of CBD cosmetics, had a turbulent week on the LSE.
On March 11, the company’s stock jumped over 10% to 15p after it revealed that its orders at its environmental division Modern Water had jumped 39% in the first quarter to £5m, its best performance to date.
However, the stock soon returned to its downward trajectory, falling to lows not seen since March 2020 throughout the week, amid complaints from investors of a lack of information on the wider financial performance of the company.
The week ended with DeepVerge announcing that it had secured a £25 million mezzanine loan facility to fund its future growth and the acquisition of an engineering services company, Glanaco Limited, for £1.08 million.
While many investors hailed the acquisition as a positive step towards global expansion, others questioned the reasons behind and terms of the loan, following a £10m Placing and Subscription completed in June 2021.
DeepVerge’s CEO Gerry Brandon said the loan ‘ensures availability of funds for growth, avoids stock market fluctuations, eliminates the need for a discounted equity dilution of shareholders and the Glanaco acquisition underwrites our ability to take control of our supply chains and manage scale to meet the growing global demand being experienced by the company.’
The AIM-listed investment firm with a stake in numerous cannabis companies, including Yooma Wellness, South West Brands, CiiTech and Northern Leaf, enjoyed a near 10% recovery from record lows reported in the prior week.
Despite being only the second firm to receive a commercial licence to grow medical cannabis in the British Isles, Northern Leaf has remained relatively quiet since raising money for an IPO in March last year, which has yet to come to fruition.
This week some news of positive developments at the Jersey-based cultivator emerge, with the Jersey Evening Post reporting that Northern Leaf were given permission to replace a fire-damaged 18,182 sq metre glasshouse at its site.
Jersey’s Economic Development Minister Senator Lyndon Farnham said that the island’s plans to develop a thriving medical cannabis industry were on track, suggesting further support for Northern Leaf and its peers was forthcoming.
“The whole plan behind developing a cannabis industry was that it becomes a long-term and sustainable industry and it is progressing pretty much as we expected. We have given out a number of licences, including one to Northern Leaf who appear to have the most advanced operation, but I know that other operators are also making significant investments in their operations. Those will begin to take shape very soon – I am sure.”
UK CBD company Cellular Goods was by far the best performer last week, seeing its stock jump some 50%.
In recent weeks Cellular Goods’ stock price has been hammered after it revealed that sales of its inaugural range of products had been below internal forecasts.
It attributed this poor performance to a delay in its omnichannel marketing push, which had already been pushed back a number of weeks, due to issues with advertising cannabis-based products on social media platforms.
During the week it announced the launch of a major ‘outdoor’ marketing campaign in London and Manchester, featuring 100 digital screens and high impact print billboards across prominent high street locations.
This coincided with a growing number of positive reviews for its products on Amazon, which Cellular Goods launched its skincare range on for the first time last month.