Gatineau's Hydropothecary, Molson Coors launch cannabis drink project

Gatineau's Hydropothecary, Molson Coors launch cannabis drink project

In a joint venture with leading cannabis producer, The Hydropothecary Corporation, the two companies will develop non-alcoholic drinks infused with cannabis.

Structured as a standalone firm, the joint venture will have its own board of directors and an independent management team.

Molson Coors will gain a 57.5 percent controlling stake in the project, and HEXO will retain ownership of the rest.

Hydropothecary would own the rest.

"We decided entering the cannabis space would provide us with a real growth opportunity", Frederic Landtmeters, CEO of Molson Coors Canada, said in a phone interview.

The transaction is expected to close by end of Sep.

The move follows an announcement past year by Constellation Brands, which revealed it would will pay CAD 245 million ($191 million) for a 9.9% stake in Canopy Growth Corporation, a Canadian supplier of medicinal marijuana, paving the way for it to launch a series of cannabis-infused alcoholic drinks.

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Recreational cannabis will become legal across Canada on October 17th, and the clock is ticking. "Our full year underlying cost savings and free cash flow guidance has not changed, despite ongoing industry demand challenges in the USA and Canada and inflationary pressures". However, cannabis-infused edibles and beverages will not be immediately legalized - those products expected to receive approval sometime in 2019.

However, it was reported by BNN Bloomberg in June that Denver-based Molson, facing falling beer sales, had held talks with several Canadian cannabis companies. It is illegal to infuse cannabis with any sort of alcoholic beverage, hence the non-alcoholic beverage deal.

Corona beer distributor Constellation Brands Inc. invested $245 million for a 9.9 per cent stake in Canada's largest licensed cannabis producer, Canopy Growth, last year.

The Hydropothecary Corporation works in the medical cannabis space in Canada, and while it now operates with 300,000 sq ft of production capacity a 1,000,000 sq ft expansion is set to be complete by the end of the year. HEXO is the name of a recreational cannabis brand recently launched by Hydropothecary, as well as the company's current ticker symbol on the Toronto Stock Exchange. According to Yahoo Finance, HEXO closed the day at $4.83 a share, up $0.48 (+11.03%).

Hunter added: "We were pleased with the sequential improvements in the second quarter for top and bottom line results".

Revenues for the period ended June 30 slipped to almost US$3.1 billion, slightly below expectations.

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