Sunday, June 22, 2014

Rolling Papers Stocks: The Forgotten Medical Marijuana Play

With the huge attention given to companies involved in the medical marijuana or recreational marijuana boom, investors have turned to such companies as fertilizer producers, electronic cigarette manufacturers, garden suppliers, and other companies with very tenuous connections to the marijuana industry. However, one area that has been forgotten is the rolling papers industry. These are the companies that manufacture and market cigarette rolling papers, used as a primary form of consuming cannabis historically.

One of the reasons that these companies are overlooked are that most of these companies are either privately held or are based in Europe. Some of the popular brands, such as Zig-Zag, JOB, and Abadie rolling papers are produced by Republic Group, a privately held company based in in Perpignan, in Pyrénées Orientales, in in Southern France.

Bugler cigarette papers are made by Scandinavian Tobacco Group which is owned by Swedish Match. (SWMAY) (SWMAF), which trades over-the-counter in the United States and also trades on the NASDAQ OMX Stockholm Exchange. The company also makes matches, lighters, and tobacco products. The stock trades at 18 times trailing earnings and 2.5 times forward earnings. Revenues for the latest quarter were up 1.1% yet earnings dropped 21.7%.

One of the oldest brands of rolling papers is RizLa+, which were first made in 1532. The papers are produced by Imperial Tobacco Group (ITYBY) (ITYBF), which trades over-the-counter in the US, and on the London Stock Exchange. The stock has a trailing price to earnings ratio of 38. Both earnings and revenues were down big time for the latest quarter, -40.1% and -4.9% respectively.

Will American tobacco companies get into the marijuana business? That remains to be seen. In the 1960's and 1970's, there were rumors that tobacco companies had registered trademarks of 'famous' marijuana names like Acapulco Gold and Maui Wowie. Based on my initial research, I haven't found that to be true.

However, here is something interesting. In 1973, Heublein, the the publicly traded alcoholic beverage company that distributed such brands as Smirnoff vodka and Jose Cuervo tequila, registered the Trademark Acapulco Gold as a drink mix. Then, get this, in 1982, the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company acquired Heublein Inc. Reynolds Tobacco is a subsidiary of Reynolds American (RAI). Yet, the trademark is now listed is Dead by the US Patent and Trademark Office.

Disclosure: Author didn't own any of the above at the time the article was written. 



Anonymous said...

Red eyes are a big problem for marijuana users. Visine and Clear Eyes are owned by big pharma companies. But sunglasses could sill be big ... something like LUX. $400 designer sunglasses have high profit margins! Also, tinted glass on cars, but not everything is investable. Probably someone like 3M makes tint.

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