Nutritional Holdings secures cannabis oil deal with Ukusekela acquisition

Ukusekela acquisition positions Nutritional Holdings to secure Japanese cannabis oil contract.

Following the acquisition of cannabis company Ukusekela, Nutritional Holdings announced that it secured a R780m cannabidiol (CBD) contract in Japan.

Nutritional Holdings completed its R65 million acquisition of Ukusekela in October through a combination of cash and shares. Ukusekela holds various licences in Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Swaziland for the cultivation, harvesting, manufacturing, distribution, importing and exporting of cannabis. The company also has a research laboratory in South Africa.

The group says it has received a two-year contract for supplying cannabidiol in Japan, a market with a cultural appreciation of hemp, making it the first African company to access this market.

Nutritional Holdings, which brought in R40.8 million in revenue in its year to end-February, said the world’s third-largest economy is characterised by both a cultural appreciation for cannabis, and is advanced in terms of its regulatory framework for CBD.

Legal CBD is one of the world’s fastest growing markets and is used in health applications such as pain relief or reducing inflammation. The contract in Japan is for supply for use in consumer goods such as health supplements. Cannabis has a major role in Japanese symbolism, tradition, religion and medicine, the group said.

The Japanese market is characterised by an ageing population with significant disposable income, and who “are very much advocates of plant-derived healthcare products”, the group said.

The contract comes after the group announced in September that it had secured a three-year contract in Germany, worth about R1 billion, for the supply of “the ultimate immune booster” to a leading manufacturing and distribution company.

The group said at the time that this contract alone had put it a third of the way towards its five-year target of R500m in annual revenue.

The global legal marijuana market is expected to grow to $73.6 billion (R1.2 trillion) by 2027, according to market research group Grand View Research, implying a compound annual growth rate of 18.1 percent for the industry.