Nanaimo-based Tilray becomes first Canadian cannabis company to launch IPO in United States

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      Shares of major Canadian weed sellers such as Canopy Growth and Cronos Group are listed on U.S. stock exchanges.

      But today, Nanaimo-based Tilray became the first Canadian cannabis company to launch its initial public offering in the United States.

      Nine million class 2 shares were priced at US$17 on NASDAQ under the ticker symbol TLRY, generating US$153 million.

      In the first hour-and-a-half of trading, shares rose to US$20.85, a whopping increase of 22.65 percent.

      "We are undertaking this offering in order to increase our liquidity and raise capital to further develop our cultivation and processing capacity," Tilray states in its prospectus.

      It has granted U.S. underwriters a 30-day overallotment to buy up to 978,000 additional class 2 shares.

      Canadian underwriters have a 30-day overallotment to buy another 371,400 class 2 shares. 

      In both instances, these investment dealers can make these purchases at the public offering price, less underwriting discounts.

      Under U.S. federal law, cannabis is illegal. However, it is legal for personal and medical use in a growing number of states. 

      Tilray's prospectus maintains that the company is "pioneering the future of medical cannabis research, cultivation, processing and distribution globally". 

      It also notes that it has "supplied high-quality cannabis products to tens of thousands of patients in 10 countries spanning five continents through our subsidiaries in Australia, Canada and Germany and through agreements with established pharmaceutical distributors".

      High Park Farms in Enniskillen, Ontario, has a federal licence to cultivate cannabis for Tilray.

      "Medical cannabis is now authorized at the national or federal level in 29 countries," the prospectus declares. "The legal market for medical cannabis is still in its early stages and we believe the number of countries with legalized regimes will continue to increase."

      The prospectus reveals that its revenue went from US$5.4 million in 2015 to US$12.6 million in 2016 to US$20.5 million in 2017.

      Net losses shrank over those three years from US$14.9 million to US$7.9 million to US$7.8 million, respectively.

      As of March 31, the accumulated deficit was US$45.6 million.

      Tilray harvested 6,770 kilograms of cannabis in 2017 and sold 3,024 kilograms. The average net selling price per gram that year was US$6.52, which was up significantly from US$5.41 in 2016.

      The prospectus reveals that Tilray president and CEO Brendan Kennedy was paid a $375,000 salary last year.

      The chief revenue officer, Edward Wood Pastorius, Jr. received a $250,000 salary and another $36,000 in compensation.

      A footnote indicates that these figures do not reflect what these two actually collected. 

      "Instead, these amounts reflect the aggregate grant date fair value of each stock option granted to our executive officers during 2017," the company states.