By Julien Ponthus
LONDON (Reuters) – Up to five companies active in the cannabis industry could go public in 2020 in Europe, a continent whose stock markets have largely missed out on the North-American „pot stocks” frenzy, a leading industry analyst said on Thursday.
The legalization of cannabis, including for recreational use in Canada and a number of U.S. states, fueled a speculative „green rush” on Toronto and New York stock markets in early 2019, but this has faltered due to oversupply fears and uncertainties on U.S. regulations.
Shares in the sector are down more than 50% from their March highs, according to the alternative harvest ETF fund <MJ.P>, which tracks cannabis-related stocks.
„I think there will be 4 or 5 companies quoted in twelve months time”, Nikolaas Faes, an analysts for Bryan Garnier told Reuters on the sidelines of a cannabis industry conference.
Bryan Garnier and its competitor Canaccord Genuity are among the few investment houses actively seeking to become key players in the fast-growing industry and win mandates to advise on merger and acquisitions or rights issues.
There has been speculation that London-based medicinal cannabis company Emmac could go public. In 2019, Emmac took over GreenLeaf, a French hemp-based and cannabis healthcare company and Swiss cannabis-based health company Blossom.
A spokesman for Emmac said an IPO remained an option but no longer for the current calendar year.
Listings of cannabis firms in Europe are very rare and currently limited to the small capitalization segment.
Public offerings are made difficult due to a patchwork of regulations and policies regarding the medical and recreational use of cannabis, including CBD, a derivative of the plant reputed to ease anxiety without the high associated with THC, the main psychoactive agent in marijuana.
Faes argues that London’s lightly regulated AIM is a market place of choice for such listings.
„I think that AIM is doing great efforts to attract some of those companies”, he said.
AIM declined to comment.
(Reporting by Julien Ponthus; Editing by Alexandra Hudson)