Shares of Thai consumer firms jump on cannabis plans

BANGKOK, March 17 (Reuters) - Share prices of Thai cosmetics and food firms jumped on Wednesday after announcements about the research and manufacture of cannabis-based products, as consumer goods companies rush to be first movers in a new market segment.

Cosmetic and supplements producer, DOD Biotech Pcl , saw share prices climb as high as 11.6% after it said it would develop and manufacture dietary supplements and skincare products that contain hemp for retailer Beauty Community Pcl.

Beauty Community jumped as high as 4.4% during trade against a benchmark gain of about 0.2%.

Local consumer good companies are keen to capitalise on the government’s unlocking of hemp and CBD for consumer products in a push to make it the next cash crop of Thailand.

Charoen Pokphand Foods Pcl, owned by Thai billionaire Dhanin Chearavanont, also said it would develop hemp-based products. Its shares rose 1.65%.

“Hemp-based ready-made meals from CP Foods are expected to be launched within this year,” chief executive Prasit Boondoungprasert said.

Hemp, a variant of cannabis, contains higher concentrations of cannabidiol or CBD, the non-psychoactive compound in the plant.

“We’re not selling the hype. This will make our products effective so customers make repeat purchases,” DOD Biotech chief financial officer, Suwarin Konthong, told Reuters.

“We have sleeping aid products, adding CBD oil will make it more efficient so people can reach a deeper sleep.”

DOD Biotech had previously disclosed plans to develop products containing hemp for other companies, including Rojukiss International Pcl and JKN Global Media Pcl. (Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng)