Business Irish

Wednesday 17 July 2019

Cannabis oil firm in US and Scandinavian drive

Dundalk-based CBD grower plans hiring spree over the coming years, writes Michael Cogley

Irish cannabidiol producer Celtic Wind Crops plans to drastically increase its headcount ahead of expansion into the US and Scandinavian regions.

The food supplements company, which was co-founded by former Kerry Group sales director Joe Gavin, expects to hire up to 250 staff by 2023. The business also expects to more than quadruple sales this year, placing them comfortably within double-digit millions, according to Gavin.

CBD oil is one of the 104 chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant, cannabis sativa. It is a popular supplement used in the treatment of pain relief, anxiety, depression, acne, and cancer-related symptoms. It differs from marijuana in that it does not produce TCH, which triggers the psychoactive effects associated with smoking weed.

"In 2016, we launched two little bottles of CBD oil and it just went interstellar overnight," he told the Sunday Independent.

"The conversation around CBD oil had just begun in the US, and we were able to produce it naturally here in Ireland, despite others saying that we couldn't."

Gavin said that he will employ between 200 and 250 people at its base in Dundalk over the next four years. It already boasts 2,500 acres of land on which to grow its product in the Cooley Mountains in Co Louth. Gavin also plans the opening of a manufacturing base in Northern Ireland to mitigate against potential levies and delays to the delivery of its stock in the UK.

Celtic is already in 60pc of Irish pharmacies and is in every health food shop in the country. Last year, it also agreed a lucrative deal with Lloyds Pharmacies in the UK.

"We did three times our 2017 sales last year, so our sales are growing three to four times year on year," he said. "We expect to do four times that in 2019."

Gavin also said that Celtic, which has become an Enterprise Ireland client, was speaking to two sizeable food supplement distributors in the US, and in a number of Scandinavian countries.

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