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Follow this list to discover and track the stock of publicly traded companies with exposure to cannabis
Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV
Altria Group, Inc.
Molson Coors Brewing Company
Canopy Growth Corporation
Canopy Growth Corporation
The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company
Aurora Cannabis Inc.
GW Pharmaceuticals plc
Cronos Group Inc.
The Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd.
Corbus Pharmaceuticals Holdings, Inc.
The Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd.
CannTrust Holdings Inc.
New Age Beverages Corporation
CannTrust Holdings Inc.
General Cannabis Corp
Terra Tech Corp.
ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF
(Bloomberg) -- The bear market in pot stocks has left billions in convertible debentures underwater, meaning cash-starved companies may have to “creatively restructure” their debt or pay a bill they didn’t expect would come due.Cannabis companies hopped into convertibles in the last three years when their stock prices were soaring and traditional debt markets were largely closed to the untested, unprofitable and stigmatized sector. Issuers that tapped the U.S. markets included Canadian pot giants Canopy Growth Corp., Aurora Cannabis Inc., Tilray Inc. and Aphria Inc.Converts are a form of interest-paying debt that can be converted into stock at a set price. Investors generally buy them on the assumption that shares will appreciate, giving them the opportunity to convert at a discount. If they choose not to convert, companies have to repay the principal when they mature.That was appealing when stocks were appreciating, but the recent rout in what had been high-flying marijuana stocks has left the shares far below the conversion price -- at just the time when cash-strapped companies are finding it tough to raise capital.“We expect more companies with near-term maturities to attempt to creatively restructure their converts if they can,” said Neil Selfe, founder and CEO of Infor Financial Group Inc., a Canadian investment bank that’s active in the cannabis industry. “We are very busy on a number of restructuring and debt-related files given that the equity markets are closed.”When Tilray announced its $475 million bond in October 2018, its conversion price of $167 -- when the embedded stock option would get triggered -- wasn’t far off from where shares were trading, roughly in the $140-$150 band. Its stock has since fallen 87% to $21, meaning investors hoping to convert are banking on a more than 700% rally.Tapping the convertible market in the U.S. gave cannabis companies two significant advantages: a “quantum of capital” and access to an institutional investor base, said Iain Franks, head of convertible and equity-linked products at Cowen Inc. The convertible market in Canada is primarily driven by retail investors.“Cross-listing equities to a U.S. exchange and tapping the U.S. institutional market provides issuers and investors with certain validation that the cannabis sector is real and investable,” Franks said.There was a natural demand for cannabis convertibles in the U.S., especially from hedge funds that were quick to snap up the stocks, according to bankers familiar with the matter, who requested anonymity due to sensitivities surrounding the marijuana market.But cannabis companies’ high-risk credit profiles meant terms were generally less favorable than other issuers, at a time when the pricing environment had been stronger than ever.The summer of convertibles in 2019 meant tech companies like Snap Inc. or industrial issuers such as Fortive Corp. could get sub-1% coupons and 40%-plus conversion premiums. Meanwhile, cannabis convertibles -- many of which aren’t due to mature until 2023 -- have had 4%-plus coupons and sub-25% conversion premiums.“For investors, given how far out-of-the-money the notes are and current trading prices, the securities trade more as a fixed-income substitute with higher yield,” Franks said. “For the issuing companies, unless the valuations recover to 2018 levels, it means the securities will need to be refinanced at some future point.”Last week, Aurora became the first big cannabis company to restructure its converts. It had C$230 million of 5% notes maturing in March 2020 with a conversion price of C$13.05 per share. Shares were trading at C$4.38 when it announced that holders could convert early at a 6% discount to its recent trading price. Holders of 94% of the securities took them up on the offer.“The market was concerned about where we would get that cash to settle that liability in March,” said Aurora Chairman Michael Singer. “That’s gone a long way to strengthen our balance sheet.”However, Aurora’s shares tumbled 29% in the two days after it announced the early conversion, which will dilute its share count by approximately 6%.“Financings like this at these levels are massively dilutive to existing shareholders and it isn’t a surprise that they would react negatively,” said Infor’s Selfe.The average retail investor was probably unhappy at the dilution but it provided an appealing option for institutional holders, who can see long-term value in a company that may otherwise have run out of cash, according to Cowen analyst Vivien Azer.“Ultimately what will benefit these retail investors is more institutional money coming into these stocks and driving down volatility and making more capital available to drive share prices higher,” Azer said. “If this is what needs to happen to clean up these stories so we can get incremental institutional capital in these names, everyone benefits.”To contact the reporters on this story: Kristine Owram in New York at email@example.com;Crystal Kim in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brad Olesen at email@example.com, Scott Schnipper, Richard RichtmyerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. regulators are hitting the brakes on plans to force tobacco companies to drastically reduce addictive nicotine in cigarettes, retreating on an ambitious public-health initiative that comes amid increasing worry about nicotine use among young people.The Department of Health and Human Services has dropped a proposal unveiled two years ago to cut the level of nicotine in cigarettes to non-addictive levels, according to a regulatory document published on Wednesday.Abandoning the plan, which almost certainly would have meant a sharp reduction in tobacco sales, would be a major victory for the tobacco industry. The move also comes at a time when public debate is focused on the potential for e-cigarettes to create a new generation of nicotine addicts.Representatives for the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Shares of Altria Group Inc., the maker of Marlboro cigarettes, closed up 3.2% in New York. Philip Morris International Inc. was little-changed.In a notice posted on a government website earlier this year as part of the Food and Drug Administration’s near-term regulatory goals, the agency said that the policy “would have significant public health benefits for youth, young adults, and adults, as well as potentially vast economic benefits.”That goal, once included as part of the “unified agenda” of regulations the government is working on, is no longer listed on the website, which was updated Wednesday as part of a semiannual review.FDA spokesman Michael Felberbaum said that the removal of the plans “does not mean the agency does not consider them a priority or will not continue to work on their development.”“The agency has focused on regulations that reflect its most immediate priorities,” Felberbaum said in an email. “FDA continues to gather evidence and data on an ongoing basis regarding all tobacco products.”Ambitious PlanIn 2017, then-FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said he wanted to reduce nicotine levels in cigarettes and other burnt tobacco to near-zero. Almost half a million people in the U.S. die each year from tobacco-related causes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the move was hailed at the time as a potentially monumental public-health decision. One estimate published in the New England Journal of Medicine projected it could save 2.8 million lives by 2060, and millions more in later decades.“If the FDA abandons its plan to limit nicotine levels in cigarettes, it will miss an unprecedented opportunity to improve health and save lives,“ said Matthew Myers, president of the advocacy group Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.The proposal also shocked Wall Street, sending stocks of tobacco giants including Altria plunging as investors reconsidered whether people would bother smoking a cigarette without the addictive chemical. The move was paired with a decision -- later reversed -- to give e-cigarette makers extra time to keep their products on the market without regulation.Gottlieb left the FDA before the nicotine policy could be seen through. Altria later bought a $12.8 billion stake in e-cigarette market leader Juul Labs Inc., a hedge against declining smoking rates.“The effort to lower nicotine in cigarettes is a central part of our effort to reduce death and disease from tobacco,” Gottlieb said in response to a request for comment from Bloomberg. “It’s critical we all maintain our commitment to these public health goals.”Another former FDA commissioner, Robert Califf, said on Twitter that the change marked “a sad day for future grandchildren. They will have fewer grandparents because of this.”Altria spokesman Steven Callahan declined to comment.The update to the U.S. regulatory agenda was published on the same morning that a Senate panel was considering the nomination of Texas oncologist Stephen Hahn to be the new head of the FDA. At that hearing, Hahn was peppered with questions about the agency’s approach to the e-cigarette industry. This year, government data has shown a surge in use of e-cigarettes by teens, and thousands of Americans have suffered serious lung injuries after vaping.The Trump administration had vowed tough curbs on flavored vaping products in September. Since then, however, the president has signaled any effort to clear the market of flavored products that appeal to young people is on hold.The FDA’s oversight of the tobacco industry was the product of a pitched political battle that began in the 1990s and culminated in a 2009 law giving the agency oversight of cigarettes and other smokeless products.Recently, some administration officials have questioned the FDA’s role in regulating tobacco. Joe Grogan, the head of the White House Domestic Policy Council, earlier this month called the FDA’s regulation of tobacco “a huge waste of time” and said the agency should focus on pharmaceuticals.(Updates with estimate on potential lives saved in ninth paragraph)\--With assistance from Tiffany Kary.To contact the reporter on this story: Drew Armstrong in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Drew Armstrong at email@example.com, Timothy AnnettFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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