Breath of Life International Ltd., an Israeli medical cannabis company, has shelved its planned initial public offering on the Toronto Stock Exchange until market conditions improve, according to its chief executive officer.
Breath of Life had planned to raise approximately $150 million through a public share offering priced at $27 to $32 a share, according to a June presentation to bankers. The company said it had revenue of $3.5 million in 2018 and $1.1 million in the first quarter of 2019.
“We are sitting on the fence waiting for the market conditions to get better,” CEO Tamir Gedo said Monday in a phone interview. “When the market is ready to be bullish, we’ll go ahead immediately.”
Cannabis shares have been in a bear market since the spring, as disappointing earnings, regulatory issues and now a vaping-related health crisis have weighed on the industry’s outlook. The BI Global Cannabis Competitive Peers index has lost more than half its value since its recent high on March 21.
The delayed IPO is a potential blow to Toronto Stock Exchange owner TMX Group Ltd., which benefited from dozens of cannabis listings in the months before and after Canada legalized recreational pot use a year ago. Loui Anastasopoulos, TMX’s president of capital formation for equity markets, said in May that Breath of Life “has the potential to be one of the largest life sciences IPOs that we’ve seen in a long time.”
TMX declined to comment on Monday.
The recent decline in pot stocks is healthy, as valuations had risen to unsustainable levels, Gedo said. He plans to wait for a catalyst to boost investor sentiment before proceeding with the IPO.
“I would like to see something which is more solid, for instance that some companies are getting into profitability or at least balance, and they’re starting to behave according to market demand and supply,” he said. “Right now most of the companies are not sustainable.”
Bank of Montreal, Cowen Inc. and Bank of Nova Scotia are named in Breath of Life’s bankers’ presentation as the joint bookrunners for the IPO.
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