Aurora Cannabis pot sales and losses growing faster than expected, shares fall – MarketWatch

Aurora Cannabis pot sales and losses growing faster than expected, shares fall - MarketWatch
Aurora Cannabis Announces Financial Results for the Third Quarter of Fiscal 2019
Aurora Cannabis Inc. sales and losses both grew faster than expected in its fiscal third quarter, according to an earnings report released late Tuesday that sent shares about 2% lower in after-hours trading.

Canada-based Aurora ACB, +4.49% ACB, +4.52%  reported fiscal third-quarter losses of C$160.1 million, or 16 cents a share, versus losses of C$20 million, or 4 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Aurora grew gross revenue to C$75.2 million, up from C$16.1 million in the year-ago period. After excluding excise taxes paid to the Canadian government, Aurora reported net revenue of C$65.2 million.

Right now, the testing grounds for this global $500-billion-plus potential market is in Canada, since that’s where cannabis is fully legal today. In that testing ground, Aurora is the second-largest player, with a revenue and volume base that dwarfs Cronos and Tilray (NASDAQ:TLRY), and is only slightly behind Canopy. Yet, despite being the second-largest player in Canada, Aurora has a market cap that is only slightly larger than Cronos and Tilray, and well smaller than Canopy. Indeed, the market is valuing each kilogram of cannabis sold by Aurora last quarter at just $1.2 million, versus $1.5 million at Canopy, $2.3 million at Tilray, and $4.6 million at Cronos.

Compared with the fiscal second quarter, when the company sold its first recreation pot in Canada, net revenue grew 20%.

Auroras appetite for convertible debentures contributed to the companys losses — as Auroras share price increases, the company must re-value the convertible debt that it has on its books. In the fiscal third quarter, that resulted in losses of C$101.5 million.

First, it is important to understand that the cannabis market will be huge. Young consumers like to smoke weed more than they like to drink, and this will ultimately manifest itself into huge demand for cannabis around the world. Eventually, all this demand will filter through the legal channel once consumer confusion clears up and supply shortages are fixed. Broadly, then, the legal recreational cannabis market could one day be as large as the alcoholic beverage and tobacco markets. Those are $500-billion-plus markets.

During the fiscal third quarter, Aurora also said it took impairment charges of C$9 million, due to changes related to assets that support the production and sale of indoor home cultivation systems and a decline in value of certain permits and licenses.

In other words, when it comes to ACB stock, it’s all about the big picture, and a quarterly earnings report just a few months into Canadian cannabis market legalization isn’t a big deal in that big picture. All Aurora needs to do this quarter is report triple-digit sales and volume growth — preferably with both above 300% — and the company will have affirmed that it is the number two player in this market, only narrowly behind Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC) in terms of sales and volume.

Aurora said it sold C$29.1 million of medical cannabis and C$29.6 million of recreational pot in the fiscal third quarter. Compared with the previous quarter, which was the first to include nearly three full months of legal Canadian recreational pot sales, Aurora grew recreational revenue 37%.

But the third-quarter earnings report and subsequent stock price reaction are just noise for Aurora. Zooming out, the long-term growth fundamentals supporting ACB stock are healthy, and the valuation underlying the stock is very attractive relative to its marijuana stock peers. Further, it does seem like only a matter of time before Aurora scores a big-time consumer staples investment. Once it does, this stock’s relative valuation discount to peers will cease to exist, and Aurora stock will soar.

The company said it produced 15,590 kilograms of pot during the quarter, and sold 9,160 kilograms. Aurora said it nearly doubled its product because its new facility in Alberta started operations and its Ontario facilities expanded. The Alberta facility, called Aurora Sky, is expected to produce 25,000 kilograms by the end of the fiscal fourth quarter.

Why the relative valuation discrepancy? The company doesn’t have a major investment from a consumer staples giant. Canopy has a roughly $4 billion investment from Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ). Cronos has a roughly $2 billion investment from Altria (NYSE:MO). But this is only a temporary problem. As the second-largest cannabis company in Canada trading at a huge discount to peers and growing just as quickly, Aurora is in a great position to receive big-money interest soon.

Aurora executives are expected to host a conference call to discuss the earnings report at 10:30 a.m. Eastern time Wednesday.

Aurora stock has gained 37% in the past year, as the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.80%   has risen 3.8%. The Horizons Marijuana Life Science ETF HMMJ, +3.24%  has gained 14% in the past year, and the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF MJ, +2.37%  is up 8.7%.

But, zooming out, the big-picture fundamentals supporting Aurora remain intact. Namely, the cannabis market still projects to be huge one day, Aurora is currently the number two player in that market, and a big money investment will likely arrive sometime later this year. So long as those three things remain true, then the relative valuation discount in ACB shouldn’t exist, and buyers here should be rewarded in the long run.

Max A. Cherney is a MarketWatch reporter based in San Francisco. Follow him on Twitter @chernandburn.

In the big picture, mixed third-quarter 2019 numbers from Aurora aren’t all that important. Instead, what is important is that Aurora is the second-biggest player in the Canadian cannabis market, with a stock that’s trading at a dirt cheap valuation relative to peers. This valuation discount won’t last forever. When it closes, ACB stock will fly higher.

EDMONTON , May 14, 2019 /CNW/ – Aurora Cannabis Inc. (the “Company” or “Aurora”) (ACB) (ACB), announced today its financial and operational results for the third quarter ended March 31 st, 2019.

“Im exceptionally proud of our company and team as Aurora continues to deliver on our domestic and international growth strategy. We achieved solid revenue growth and strong operating results in a quarter proven challenging across the industry.  We are laser focused on building a long-term sustainable business,” said Terry Booth , CEO. “During the quarter, we formally welcomed Nelson Peltz a key strategic advisor.  He has been incredibly engaged, collaborative, and strategically focused on assisting our pursuit of growth in global markets and with mature companies in adjacent industries.”

To be sure, the numbers will still look great on a year-over-year basis. I fully expect revenues and volumes to still rise 300%-plus year-over-year, which is very impressive. As such, growth will remain big. Just not big enough.

Glen Ibbott , CFO, added, “Aurora is an extremely active and diversified company, leading the industry in cannabis research, product development, cultivation, global scale, and revenue growth.  With a solid Q3 on all fronts, its time to move the yardsticks for the industry again.  The company we have built with purpose through both organic growth and targeted acquisitions has provided a unique opportunity: continue to lead the industry in revenue growth while also progressing to positive operating earnings in the near term.”

Net net, Aurora’s third-quarter numbers will likely be a mixed bag that comprises big but slowing growth. Investors won’t be too impressed with the slowing growth part, and ACB stock could fall in response.

Net revenue represents our total gross revenue exclusive of excise taxes levied by the Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”) on the sale of medical and recreational cannabis products effective October 17, 2018.

But Canopy is a $15 billion company. Aurora is an $8.5 billion company. Thus, if Aurora does affirm that it is right behind Canopy this quarter, then the long term bull thesis supporting ACB stock will remain in-tact.

The Aurora Sky and Bradford facilities are now operating at full capacity. With this, the Companys annualized production run rate across its operational facilities is in excess of 150,000 kg per annum, based on planted rooms.

Aurora’s third quarter numbers likely won’t be that great. But, they won’t be awful either. Instead, they will likely be a mixed bag with big but slowing growth rates.

Aurora reiterates its target for Q4 with production available for sale in excess of 25,000 kg. Management intends to allocate a portion of this capacity to its inventory for manufacturing new products. Aurora remains focused on having vapes and certain edibles ready for launch under new regulations in the Canadian consumer market which are expected toward the end of the calendar year.

Aurora’s third-quarter numbers likely won’t be great, and ACB stock could fall in response.

With production ramping up, the Company continues to scale up manufacturing capacity, with innovation and technologies aimed at reducing time from harvest to market. The Company anticipates that increased processing, packaging and delivery efficiencies in Q4 and beyond will accelerate availability of product.

Supply to Europe and other international markets is expected to increase as more of Auroras production facilities receive EU GMP certification. The Bradford facility has recently undergone an audit to obtain EU GMP certification. In Q3, the Company began exports of full spectrum cannabis extracts in Germany . Management anticipates these sales will contribute to growth given the higher margins in extracts.

Oil extraction capacity has been a constraint during the second and third fiscal quarters of 2019. Subsequent to quarters end, Aurora expanded its internal extraction capacity to almost 7,000 kgs per quarter currently and will reach almost 16,000 kgs per quarter in fiscal Q1. As well, the Companys extraction partner Radient Technologies is scaling up commercial production at its Edmonton facility. Consequently, Aurora anticipates production of extract-based products to increase, with the full impact starting to materialize towards the end of fiscal Q4. This increase in internal and external extraction capacity will enhance Auroras ability to produce derivative products at scale, which management expects will have a positive impact on both revenues and gross margin.

With Aurora Sky now operating at full capacity, the Company anticipates continued reduction in production and manufacturing costs allowing cash costs per gram to continue to trend lower. Management reiterates its expectation that the average cash cost to produce per gram at its Sky Class facilities will be below $1 .

With disciplined cost management, the Company expects SG&A costs to grow modestly over the remainder of the fiscal year. Consequently, management anticipates that with sustained revenue growth and lower cash costs per gram, Aurora is well positioned to achieve positive EBITDA beginning in fiscal Q4 2019 (calendar Q2 2019).

Installation of glass roof structure at Aurora Sun, Medicine Hat, Alberta. (CNW Group/Aurora Cannabis Inc.)MoreWhistler Alpha Lake is currently operating at its designed capacity of 480 kg/year of organic certified cannabis, utilizing four grow rooms.Construction of Whistler Pemberton remains on track for completion in calendar Q4 2019 During the most recent grow season in Europe , Agropro harvested a combined 3,950 acres of hemp across Lithuania , Latvia and Estonia . For the upcoming grow season, beginning in May 2019 , Agropro plans to contract 8,150 acres of hemp for harvest, which is expected to begin in August.

On May 14, 2019 , the Company filed a prospectus supplement (the “Prospectus Supplement”) to the Shelf Prospectus.In connection with the Prospectus Supplement, Aurora entered into a Sales Agreement dated May 14, 2019 with Cowen and Company, LLC (“Cowen”) and BMO Capital Markets (“BMO”) who will act as the selling agents (the “Selling Agents”) for the sale of common shares of Aurora (the “Common Shares”) by way of “at-the-market distributions” on the New York Stock Exchange in the United States . Subject to the terms of the Sales Agreement and applicable regulatory requirements, Common Shares in the aggregate amount of up  to US$400,000,000 may be issued and sold from time to time at the discretion of Aurora over a period of up to 25 months. The Common Shares will be distributed at market prices prevailing at the time of the sale of such Common Shares and, as a result, prices may vary as between purchasers and during the period of distribution. The net proceeds of such sales, if any, will be used for general corporate purposes, including: (i) working capital; (ii) potential future acquisitions; (iii) debt repayments; and (iv) capital expenditures. The volume and timing of sales, if any, of Common Shares is at the discretion of Aurora.

Aurora expects to use the net proceeds from the prospectus will support its expansion initiatives, global partnership strategy, and to continue the Companys accelerated growth.

The Shelf Prospectus and Prospectus Supplement have been filed on SEDAR and the U.S. version of the Shelf Prospectus and the Prospectus Supplement have been filed on the SECs website (www.sec.gov).

This news release does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy, nor shall there be any sale of these Securities in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to the registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such jurisdiction.

The Company granted a total of 383,000 options to purchase common shares of Aurora to Directors and Officers of the Company. The options vest annually over 36 months and have a weighted average exercise price of $9.35  per common share.

Aurora will host a conference call tomorrow, May 15, 2019, to discuss these results. Terry Booth, Chief Executive Officer, Glen Ibbott, Chief Financial Officer, Cam Battley , Chief Corporate Officer, and Michael Singer , Executive Chairman, will host the call starting at 10:30 a.m. Eastern time. A question and answer session will follow managements presentation.

Non-IFRS measures are defined in the companys MD&A.                                                                                           

Headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with funded capacity in excess of 625,000 kg per annum and sales and operations in 24 countries across five continents, Aurora is one of the worlds largest and leading cannabis companies. Aurora is vertically integrated and horizontally diversified across every key segment of the value chain, from facility engineering and design to cannabis breeding and genetics research, cannabis and hemp production, derivatives, high value-add product development, home cultivation, wholesale and retail distribution.

Highly differentiated from its peers, Aurora has established a uniquely advanced, consistent and efficient production strategy, based on purpose-built facilities that integrate leading-edge technologies across all processes, defined by extensive automation and customization, resulting in the massive scale production of high-quality product at low cost. Intended to be replicable and scalable globally, our production facilities are designed to produce cannabis of significant scale, with high quality, industry-leading yields, and low per gram production costs. Each of Auroras facilities is built to meet EU GMP standards. EU GMP certification has been granted to Auroras first production facility in Mountain View County, the MedReleaf Markham facility, and its wholly owned European medical cannabis distributor Aurora Deutschland.

In addition to the Companys rapid organic growth and strong execution on strategic M&A, which to date includes 16 wholly owned subsidiary companies – MedReleaf, CanvasRX, Peloton Pharmaceutical, Aurora Deutschland, H2 Biopharma, Urban Cultivator, BC Northern Lights, Larssen Greenhouses, CanniMed Therapeutics, Anandia, HotHouse Consulting, MED Colombia, Agropro, Borela, ICC Labs, Whistler, and Chemi Pharmaceutical – Aurora is distinguished by its reputation as a partner and employer of choice in the global cannabis sector, having invested in and established strategic partnerships with a range of leading innovators, including: Radient Technologies Inc. (RTI.V), Hempco Food and Fiber Inc. (HEMP.V), Cann Group Ltd. (CAN.AX), Micron Waste Technologies Inc. (CSE:MWM), Choom Holdings Inc. (CSE:CHOO), Capcium Inc. (private), Evio Beauty Group (private), Wagner Dimas (private), CTT Pharmaceuticals (CTTH), Alcanna Inc. (CLIQ.TO), High Tide Inc. (CSE:HITI) and EnWave Corporate (ENW.V).

Auroras Common Shares trade on the TSX and NYSE under the symbol “ACB”, and are a constituent of the S&P/TSX Composite Index.

This news release makes reference to certain non-IFRS measures, including certain industry metrics. These metrics and measures are not recognized measures under IFRS do not have meanings prescribed under IFRS and are as a result unlikely to be comparable to similar measures presented by other companies. These measures are provided as information complimentary to those IFRS measures by providing a further understanding of our operating results from the perspective of management. As such, these measures should not be considered in isolation or in lieu of review of our financial information reported under IFRS. This news release uses non-IFRS measures including “EBITDA”,  “production rate”, “production available for sale” and “SG&A”.  Production available for sale and production rate are commonly used operating measures in the industry but may be calculated differently compared to other companies in the industry. These non-IFRS measures, including the industry measures, are used to provide investors with supplementary measures of our operating performance that may not otherwise be apparent when relying solely on IFRS metrics. Definitions of the non-IFRS measures can be found in our financial statements, MD&A and this news release.

This news also release includes statements containing certain “forward-looking information” within the meaning of applicable securities law (“forward-looking statements”). Forward-looking statements are frequently characterized by words such as “plan”, “continue”, “expect”, “project”, “intend”, “believe”, “anticipate”, “estimate”, “may”, “will”, “potential”, “proposed” and other similar words, or statements that certain events or conditions “may” or “will” occur and include, but are not limited to the execution of definitive agreements and the closing of the transaction. These statements are only predictions. Various assumptions were used in drawing the conclusions or making the projections contained in the forward-looking statements throughout this news release. Forward-looking statements are based on the opinions and estimates of management at the date the statements are made, and are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. These risks include, but are not limited to, the ability to retain key personnel, the ability to continue investing in infrastructure to support growth, the ability to obtain financing on acceptable terms, the continued quality of our products, customer experience and retention, the development of third party government and non-government adult-use  sales channels, managements estimation of consumer demand in Canada and in jurisdictions where the Company exports, expectations of future results and expenses, the availability of additional capital to complete construction projects and facilities improvements, the risk of successful integration of acquired business and operations, the ability to expand and maintain distribution capabilities, the impact of competition, and the possibility for changes in laws, rules, and regulations in the industry. The Company is under no obligation, and expressly disclaims any intention or obligation, to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as expressly required by applicable law. 


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