Michelle Gumede, Business Day
JSE-listed Labat Africa already has a potentially strong foothold in Europe through its dual listing on the Frankfort Stock Exchange. There’s been keen interest from European buyers for South African medical cannabis, and Labat, knowing that this is the time to get it right, has appointed a board of advisors to fine-tune its European expansion strategy.
This was first published on Business Day online on 22 June 2023.
Integrated cannabis business Labat Africa has announced a 15-person advisory board to offer give scientific, technical and clinical guidance to its subsidiary Labat Healthcare in its ambitious bid to penetrate European markets.
The members are Edith Antunes, Leonhard Terp, Harrikrishna Narismulu, Naushaad Suleman, Denzil Beukes, Rinesh Chetty, Agatha Wilhase, Ian Donjeany, Raj Daya, Shuaib Chalklen, Jens Windahl Pedersen, Sibongile Vilakazi, Ravi Naidoo, Nokuphumula Mkhwanazi and former ANC MP Mnyamezeli Booi.
Tasked with providing advice on pharmaceutical science and clinical pharmacology issues, the Labat Healthcare Scientific, Medical and Pharmaceutical (SMP) board will support and strengthen its delivery and integration of its integrated cannabis value chain, Labat Africa said in a statement.
“The SMP advisory board will aid in traversing and understanding crucial factors in relation to the external environment, therapeutic areas, data management and the use of products approved or in development, clinical and medical asset strategies, or unmet medical needs across the global sphere,” Labat said.
The group is making headway in its 2019 strategy to reposition itself away from an investment holding company into a fully integrated cannabis business with a focus on healthcare, wellness and industrial hemp.
The R43.5m JSE-listed group has investments in healthcare, focusing on cannabis cultivation and extraction (high THC), CBD pharmaceutical and medicinal products as well as a range of agricultural hemp products in the food and drug areas as well as in the industrial market.
It is seeking to establish itself in European markets, having gained a dual listing on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (FSE) in 2021.
Labat said to expands its value chain, the group must “have the legitimacy of the meticulously measured research outcomes for the company’s commercial road map to have sustainability in the newly targeted markets in Europe”.
This is especially true in Germany and Australia, where Labat Africa’s current export of high-THC cannabis flower is being dispensed.
Labat, which is aiming to become the top cannabis and hemp company in Africa, acquired a majority stake in Lima Romeo Air, trading as Sweetwaters Aquaponics in the 2022 financial year.
It has a fully operational medicinal cannabis cultivation facility in Kenton-on-Sea in the Eastern Cape which has been approved by the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra).
It earlier bought an R11.25m stake in Northern Cape medical cannabis producer Leaf Botanicals. (Cannabiz Africa editor’s note: Labat has subsequently disposed of its stake in Leaf and centred its operations around Sweetwater Aquaponics in the Eastern Cape)
As THC, CBD and all the other cannabinoids of cannabis sativa chemo-cars and cultivars are legalised around the world, they bring with them many commercially viable health and wellness propositions, Labat Africa said.
The company said these compounds are contained in various protocols and packaged formulations, as well as in regulated and measured dosages for prescriptions.
Labat Africa emphasised that the SMP board will offer recommendations, but decision-making remains with the board of Labat Healthcare.