October 26, 2018 / 6:52 AM / 9 months ago

Shares in Danish cannabis oil firm StenoCare to debut on Friday

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Danish cannabis oil firm StenoCare will make its stock market debut on Friday, aiming to take advantage of a recent surge in investor interest in a substance that is still banned or restricted in many markets.

The company said earlier this month its initial public offering (IPO) on the Danish-Swedish Spotlight exchange was more than 20 times oversubscribed, putting it on course to raise 18.6 million Danish crowns ($2.85 million).

It plans to use the money to launch its own production facility to serve local customers and to export to other European markets.

Scientists say evidence is growing that cannabis can ease epilepsy and other conditions such as chronic pain, multiple sclerosis and chemotherapy-induced nausea, prompting renewed interest in a substance best known for its psychoactive properties.

Denmark is one of several European countries, including Germany, Britain, the Czech Republic and Italy, that have allowed prescriptions of medicinal cannabis oil.

Denmark, which legalized the medicinal use of cannabis from Jan. 1, is also one of the few European nations to legalize its local production as well.

Recreational use of cannabis is still prohibited in the country, however, even though the capital’s district of Christiania is famous for its cannabis-selling booths, which are rarely targeted by the authorities.

StenoCare IPO-STENO.TE currently imports cannabis from Canada’s CannTrust, with the first deliveries to Danish pharmacies and hospitals made last month.

Cannabis is also attracting the interest of consumer products companies.

A StenoCare cannabis drops photographed in Birkeroed, Denmark September 20, 2018. Vibe Juul Sannig/Courtesy of StenoCare/Handout via REUTERS

Canada last week became only the second country in the world after Uruguay to fully legalize cannabis, with the lead up to that move prompting drinks firms such as Constellation Brands (STZ.N), Molson Coors (TAP.N) and Heineken (HEIN.AS) to look into cannabis-infused drinks.

StenoCare, founded last year by CEO Thomas Skovlund Schnegelsberg and Chief Operating Officer Soren Kjaer, priced its IPO at 8.80 crowns per share, valuing the company at 59.7 million crowns.

($1 = 6.5359 Danish crowns)

Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; Editing by Mark Potter

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