IPO sends Tilray shares high

Shares of cannabis producer Tilray Inc. surged as much as 40 per cent on the Nasdaq market in its first day of trading, marking the first initial public offering for a Canadian marijuana company on a major U.S. exchange.

The Nanaimo, B.C.-based company's stock was priced at US$17 per share, higher than its previously stated marketing range of US$14 to US$16.

Tilray's shares rose as high as US$24 on the Nasdaq before closing at US$22.39.

Tilray is the first Canadian cannabis producer to debut on a U.S. exchange but is the third to list its shares south of the border. Cronos Group Inc. started trading on the Nasdaq in February and Canopy Growth Corp. began trading on the New York Stock Exchange in May.

Tilray, which had been wholly-owned and funded by Seattle-based private equity firm Privateer Holdings before a Series A round of funding earlier this year, has said it does not intend to list on any stock exchange in Canada.

Its initial public offering comes as Canada prepares to legalize marijuana for recreational use on Oct. 17.

In its regulatory filing, Tilray says its products are available in 10 countries and it has agreements with established pharmaceutical distributors in 12.

In Canada, the company has signed agreements to supply medical cannabis to Pharmasave and Shoppers Drug Mart, subject to changes in Canadian regulations or licence approvals to facilitate such distribution.

Tilray has also signed agreements to supply cannabis for adult-use with Quebec, Yukon, and the Northwest Territories. High Park Company, an affiliate which Tilray established earlier this year to develop a portfolio of cannabis brands and products, has announced a supply deal with the Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries Corporation. It has also signed a memorandum of understanding with the BC Liquor Distribution Branch.

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