A firm where the Desmarais have interests eyeing the pot

News 15 February, 2018
  • Photo archive, Martin Knight
    André Desmarais (right), co-ceo of Power Corporation, has been photographed in the company of another liberal well-known, Martin Cauchon, on the 6th of September last in Montreal. Mr. Cauchon is a director of a firm that produces cannabis.

    Annabelle Blais and
    Jean-François Cloutier

    Thursday, February 15, 2018 01:00

    Thursday, February 15, 2018 01:00

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    The powerful family business liberal Desmarais could soon have an interest in the pot canada, thanks to its investment in a producer of alcohol european.

    The CEO of the French company of spirits, Pernod Ricard, Alexandre Ricard, has confirmed this week in an interview with channel Bloomberg that he took a keen interest in the industry of cannabis.

    “We are closely monitoring the situation in the United States and Canada, as the whole industry [of spirits],” he explained.

    The Desmarais family, which owns the daily Press, control with the Frère family of Belgium, the holding company GBL. This holding company holds a “strategic investment” of € 2.3 billion ($3.6 billion) in Pernod Ricard.

    This makes it the second largest shareholder of the whole group (7.5% of the shares), behind the family Ricard, depending on the site ZoneBourse.

    Two of the directors of GBL, Ian Gallienne and Gilles Samyn, to serve on the board of directors of Pernod Ricard. The company did not wish to comment further on the statements of its president and CEO.

    Interest ” in the minority “

    Asked by our Office of investigation, Me Stéphane Lemay, a spokesperson for the Power Corporation, said that the multinational Desmarais currently has “no interest [financial]” in the area of cannabis. He did not want to comment on the plans of Pernod Ricard, arguing that Power Corporation holds an interest “minority, and indirect” in the european giant of the spirits.

    If the strategy of Pernod Ricard is to become a reality, the Desmarais empire would add to the long list of close friends of the liberal Party of Canada who have interest in the industry of cannabis, including ex-minister and owner of newspapers Martin Cauchon, the former minister, Pierre Pettigrew, the former finance director of the party Chuck Rifici, or the ex-national director Adam Miron, who founded Hydropothecary.

    Drinks cannabis

    During his interview with Bloomberg, Alexandre Ricard addressed the question of the drinks to cannabis. He made reference to an important investment of the company’s Constellation, which markets beers Corona and who has entered into an agreement this fall with the producer of cannabis canadian Canopy Growth.

    Pernod Ricard, whose headquarters is located in France, sells brands Absolut Vodka and Havana Club.

    The industry of the pot and the alcohol are observed and are courting for a few months.

    The producer of alberta Aurora has confirmed yesterday the purchase of units in Liquor Stores N. A, a chain of liquor stores in Alberta.

    The SAQ signed agreements with six pot growers

    Photo archive

    Sebastien St-Louis, CEO Hydropothecary

    Six producers have finally concluded agreements with the Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ) to provide the cannabis that will be sold to Quebec.

    Three of these producers have facilities in Quebec. Among them, only one has its headquarters in the province, is Hydropothecary, in Gatineau.

    Moreover, it is the latter who gets the biggest share of the cake and will provide 20 000 kilograms of pot at the SAQ, in the first year.

    The corporation has estimated, in a preliminary way, needs to 50 000 kg, said the spokesperson Linda Bouchard.

    The Newspaper reported yesterday that an ontario company, MedReleaf, would provide at least 8,000 kilograms of cannabis per year for three years.

    The other producers will be Aphria and Canopy Growth to 12 000 kg each. On their side, Aurora and Tilray will provide 5000 kg each. The total amount of the agreements is 54 000 kg. Hydropothecary will provide 37 % of the needs of the SAQ.

    Canopy Growth and Aurora have several facilities, some of which, in Quebec. Tilray is located in British Columbia so that Aphria is in Ontario.

    Not the official supplier

    Hydropothecary wished to become the official supplier of cannabis to the SAQ. If it is not the only one, it will nevertheless be the biggest, ” said CEO Sébastien St-Louis.

    By e-mail, Ms. Bouchard has stated that producers should have the required permits.

    “The reputation, the ability to deliver in Quebec, the quality of the products are also criteria that have been considered “, she explained.

    Mps have passed a motion unanimously yesterday to Quebec for the SAQ ” is supplied primarily from quebec producers “. The motion, introduced by the PQ claims that the producers ” have a financing socially acceptable “, that is to say, free money from tax havens.

    – With the QMI Agency