Creso expands team: set to tap budding LatAm & Canadian pot markets

By Zoe Gross. Published at Jun 14, 2018, in ASX Biotechs

ASX pot-stock, Creso Pharma (ASX:CPH) has announced its second piece of good news this week — its appointment of John Griese as chief operating officer for the Americas.

This comes at an auspicious time, with CPH furthering its expansion into the Americas.

CPH’s acquisition of Canadian medical cannabis producer, Mernova Medicinal Inc., was completed back in February this year. Construction of its 20,000 square foot medicinal cannabis growing facility is expected to be completed in the near future, with the licensing process now in its final phases.

Griese will oversee the completion of the Mernova Medicinal facility, the final phases of the Kunna S.A.S. transaction, and the proposed acquisition of a Colombian cultivation facility.

Once the cultivation operations are finalised, bringing CPH’s comprehensive product range to market in both Canada and Latin America will become a critical priority for the biotech junior.

Creso CEO, Dr Miri Halperin Wernli, said: “We are excited about John’s appointment as Creso’s new COO for the Americas. He is a highly technical, hands-on leader capable of developing strategy and implementing operations at the grass roots level. He also has extensive experience in the North American food and cannabis industries.”

“Canada is a key market for the cannabis industry and offers great opportunity for growth. The recent historic passing of the cannabis act for full adult-use legalisation is a further demonstration of the huge potential Canada offers for the uptake of our products, and we are optimistic about the future of the industry in this market.”

“John’s appointment will help establish our presence in Canada, providing Creso with the knowledge and expertise needed to continue to grow our presence in the region,” Halperin Wernli added.

Griese brings with him over 25 years of experience in sales, manufacturing and supply chain with some of the world’s most successful food companies. His previous roles include Frito-Lay (a division of Pepsico) as Head of Supply Chain for Canada, Nestle USA as Head of Supply Chain for a $4.5 billion frozen food division, and the Toronto-based Sofina Foods.

Griese commented: “I look forward to taking on my new role and to assist Creso to further establish and grow its already significant foothold in the Americas. Creso’s ambitions fit well with my skill set and my experience in the cannabis market in North America. Creso’s products are well suited to meet the growing demands of consumers in these countries.”

However, it is an early stage of this company’s development in these countries and if considering this stock for your portfolio, you should take all public information into account and seek professional financial advice.

A pair of growing markets

Of the broader thriving Latin American cannabis market, Colombia is one of the fastest-growing segments. Colombians spent US$86.3 million on cannabis in 2008, and consumption has grown at 15 per cent per year.

Colombia legalised medical cannabis in 2016, and in the following year mapped out a framework for cultivation, production and distribution (including exports), establishing quality and consistency standards for the rest of Latin America.

Once its acquisition of Kunna is finalised, CPH will be one of only a few companies globally — and the only medicinal cannabis company listed on the ASX — with the capacity to commercially cultivate medicinal-grade cannabis in Colombia.

Canada, on the other hand, which last week legalised recreational pot (making it the first major western country to do so) is expected to be a US$6.5 billion industry by 2020, according to Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC).

These kinds of sales exceed the amount Canadians spend on alcoholic spirits, and approach wine sales levels.

CIBC predicts that in the next two years, Canadians will consume 800,000 kilograms of cannabis, the vast majority of which will be for recreational use.

CPH’s leverage to this budding Canadian market gives it a clear advantage, especially in terms of capacity for cultivation.

Other ASX pot-stocks with a stake in, or leverage to, Canadian cannabis include Roto-Gro International (ASX:RGI), The Hydroponics Company (ASX: THC), AusCann (ASX:AC8), and MMJ Phytotech (ASX: MMJ).

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