While pot stocks are living the high life, soaring as major beverage companies look to get into the game as Canada prepares to officially legalize recreational marijuana, pot poster boy Aurora Cannabis just released its quarterly earnings—and investors are impressed.
In the fiscal fourth quarter which ended on June 30th, Aurora posted a 223-percent increase in earnings, hitting $14.7 million (C$19.1 million). It also said net income moved into profit —exactly what investors were looking for.
Net income for the quarter was around $61.6 million (C$79.9 million). That’s highly significant because losses in the same quarter last year were (C$19.2 million).
All in all, for this fiscal year, Aurora has seen 206-percent revenue growth and profit of over $55 million (C71.9 million).
It’s vindication for investors who have been waiting for pot stocks to start delivering on the intensifying hype.
There are plenty of reasons to be tempted by Aurora, despite the inherent risk in this new and fast-rising industry.
For starters, it’s producing more—faster. This year so far, it’s boosted production by 85 percent and sales have been increased by 111 percent.
Now, Aurora is planning to list on a major U.S. exchange (for now, it’s only on the Toronto exchange), which is what many are waiting for—and its quarterly numbers make this all the more poignant.
But here’s the sticking point with those fantastic numbers: Profit isn’t exactly profit: The 2nd quarter profit was instead from “unrealized, non-cash gain on derivatives and marketable securities”.
And at the end of the day, no one’s quite sure whether the company is actually operating at a profit or not.
Aurora stock has rallied almost 50 percent in two weeks, thanks to all the hype over the broad industry, the nearing of Canada’s legal status and the recent talk from Coca-Cola, which says it is considering a cannabis-infused wellness drink. The possibility of a U.S. stock exchange listing (possibly in October) is also boosting shares:
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In the meantime, everyone’s concerned that the pot growers aren’t going to be able to meet an expected uptick in demand when Canada goes recreationally legal on October 17th. But Aurora says it’s “more than ready”. Related: A Decade On: Lessons From Lehman Brothers
The company’s chief corporate officer, Cam Battley, says Aurora doesn’t expect to need supply agreements with other licensed producers to bridge any gaps. It’s already signed supply deals with government entities handling cannabis sales in their jurisdictions (Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec), and while Aurora is still tight-lipped on the size of its inventory, it promises it’s ramping up production capacity and is eyeing 150,000 kilograms annually by the end of this year.
“In about three weeks from now, a significant increase in demand will initially come from the Canadian legal consumer use market,” Battley said on a conference call Tuesday morning.
“We’ve been building inventory in anticipation of that market and have supply arrangements with just about every province and territory in Canada to supply a broad range of dry flower and higher margin products such as pre-rolls, oils and capsules,” he said.
By Tom Kool of Safehaven.com
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