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Mar 7, 2019

TMX unlikely to change U.S. exposure rules for pot stocks: CIBC

Cannabis firms in talks with TMX Group to loosen rules on U.S. exposure, sources say

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TMX Group Ltd. (X.TO) isn’t missing out on significant revenue despite its restriction on pot companies with U.S. exposure, and is therefore unlikely to change its listing requirements, according to analysts with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

TMX, which operates the Toronto Stock Exchange and TSX Venture, said in October 2017 that every issuer listed on its exchanges must comply with all the laws in the jurisdictions in which they operate. For pot companies, the rule means firms with marijuana assets in the U.S. can’t list their shares on the TMX since the drug remains federally illegal in the country.

While the rule has helped the Canadian Securities Exchange – which does not have the same listing requirement – attract a greater number of cannabis-related companies, CIBC analysts Paul Holden and Calvin Young point out that TMX and CSE are effectively splitting trading volumes for pot stocks. While trading volumes for the CSE’s 134 cannabis-related firms hit 17.3 billion shares in 2018,  about 17.5 billion shares were traded among the TMX’s 39 pot-related companies.

“Are TMX rules costing it a substantial amount of money? Our numbers suggest they are not (reinforcing our view that TMX is unlikely to change its listing requirements),” Holden and Young wrote in a note to clients.

The analysts also estimated that if half of CSE-listed pot firms moved to the TMX, it would represent a potential revenue impact of just $3.4 million. “That represents roughly one per cent upside to our current 2019 estimates, not a material amount,” Holden and Young wrote.

CIBC’s note comes after BNN Bloomberg’s David George-Cosh reported last month that executives from several marijuana producers listed on the TSX and TSX Venture have recently ramped up discussions with the exchange operator in an attempt to change restrictions.

“We think it is highly unlikely TMX will change its listing requirements, but a change in U.S. federal policy could see a proportion of CSE-listed names switch over to TMX venues,” Holden and Young wrote.  “Every piece of additional business counts, but it’s not material enough to build into our investment thesis.”

Cannabis Canada is BNN Bloomberg’s in-depth series exploring the stunning formation of the entirely new – and controversial – Canadian recreational marijuana industry. Read more from the special series here and subscribe to our Cannabis Canada newsletter to have the latest marijuana news delivered directly to your inbox every day.

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