Australian firm says U.S. market fueled fast stock boost

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Shares in Australian hemp firm Ecofibre have jumped 200 percent since it launched on the Australian Securities Exchange this past March.

The company, which is working in several hemp sectors, said the price boost is based mainly on the performance of its nutraceutical products (which include CBD) in the U.S. market. Ecofibre makes nutraceuticals for humans and pets, as well as topical creams and salves.

‘Whole-plant’ strategy

Ecofibre is one of few publicly-traded hemp companies working along a “whole plant” strategy. In addition to nutraceuticals produced from fields in the U.S. state of Kentucky, it turns out food-grade hemp seed oil, protein and hemp seeds grown from crops in Tasmania where it produced 360 tons of hemp seed for food in 2018, up from 110 tons the previous year. The company sells that output on the Australian market. 

Ecofibre is also developing “Hemp Black,” a high-tech textile based on hemp, in cooperation with researchers at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Broad application

Hemp Black has applications in fashion, healthcare, and the bio-composites and green building materials sectors, Ecofibre has said.

Ecofibre’s original listing had a market capitalization of $218 million (AU$309 million), after raising $14 million (AU $20 million) at $0.71 (AU$1) per share through its March IPO. Shares have recently been in the $2.12 (AU$3) range. The company has lost $6.14 million (AU$8.7 million) over the past two years but says it expects to break even in 2019, and begin turning a profit next year.

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