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Althea share price lifts as cannabis market growth predicted

The Althea Group Holdings Ltd (ASX: AGH) share price is on the rise today. This follows an announcement that company’s subsidiary has entered into a cannabis beverage production agreement. Althea’s subsidiary, Peak Processing Solutions, has struck a deal with Collective Project Limited to manufacture canned, cannabis-infused beverages at its Ontario facility.

What does Althea do?

Althea is a supplier of medicinal cannabis. The company operates in the highly regulated medical cannabis markets across Australia, the United Kingdom, and Germany. It also has plans to expand into emerging markets throughout Asia and Europe. Althea’s Peak Processing Solutions subsidiary is an extraction and manufacturing business based in Canada. Work was recently completed on Peak Processing’s manufacturing facility and licensing of the facility with Health Canada is currently underway.

What does the new agreement mean?

The new agreement is an important milestone for Peak Processing Solutions and provides validation of the company’s industry-leading production capabilities. Manufacture under the agreement will commence once Peak Processing Solutions is granted its Health Canada Standard Processing Licence. Once licensed, Peak Processing Solutions will support clients with a suite of professional services including product and brand development, regulatory affairs, warehousing, and distribution.

Peak Processing Solutions aims to leverage Canada’s ‘Legalization 2.0’, which allows the sale of cannabis-infused edibles, drinks, nutraceuticals, and cosmetic products. The subsidiary is being positioned as a leading contract manufacturer for consumer brands looking to supply recreational cannabis and create cannabis infused products.

How are cannabis shares performing?

The Althea share price has more than doubled since March when it hit a low of 16 cents per share. In this respect, Althea has outperformed other ASX-listed cannabis companies. For example, Cann Group Ltd (ASX: CAN) has seen its share price increase 55% from its March low. Meanwhile, the Auscann Group Holdings Ltd (ASX: AC8) share price has increased 14% over the same period.

What is the outlook for the cannabis market?

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the global medical marijuana market is predicted to grow by US$22.33 billion over the next four years, with a compound annual growth rate of 24%. In fact, cannabis sales in the United States surged in the wake of the pandemic. On 16 March, sales of recreational marijuana increased by 159% in California, 100% in Washington State, and 46% in Colorado, compared to the same day in 2019.

Australia’s cannabis market is forecast to grow from $52 million in 2018 to $1.2 billion in 2027. This would make it the fifth largest market in the world. The jump in value is the anticipated result of regulatory changes that have come into effect in recent years, lifting restrictions on the use of cannabis for certain purposes. Althea, Auscann, and Cann Group all stand to benefit from this burgeoning market.

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Motley Fool contributor Kate O'Brien has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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Kate O'Brien