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UK startup aims to raise $29m

A UK cannabis startup led by a former Cable & Wireless executive is aiming to raise £24m ($29m) ahead of a possible IPO on London’s junior Aim market next year.

Folium is understood to have hired bankers at Jefferies and Shard Capital to advise on the fundraising and intends to tap into a wave of investor interest in the cannabis sector in a bid to ramp up production in North Macedonia, one of the most accommodating regulatory environments in Europe.

The company, which partnered with a North Macedonian academic a year ago to cultivate, process and export medical cannabis, aims to raise up to £24m from a mixture of wealthy individuals, institutional and other investors.

It is trying to tempt investors by offering exposure to Europe’s growing medical cannabis sector.

The company said a recent order from a Polish healthcare provider is expected to generate €1.2m (£1.1m) in revenue.

While some investors are blocked from backing cannabis companies by their own investment rules, Mr Dodd said he expected these restrictions would be loosened in the coming years.

Folium wants to be “scrupulously clean and transparent from the beginning” as it plans to list its shares on Aim next year, a spokesman said.

The company is “not going to get involved with at all” with recreational cannabis, he added.

Folium cultivates, processes and exports products in both the Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) categories.

THC products are mind-altering while CBD is thought to have properties that help to relieve pain, anxiety and the symptoms of certain medical conditions.

The UK market for CBD products, which includes everything from drinks to edibles and even dog food, was estimated by the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis to be worth £300m a year.

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