Altria & Cronos Rumor: What 'Big Tobacco' Gets If It Becomes 'Big Cannabis'
The business world of medical marijuana is getting yet another facet to its growth story. Rumors have surfaced that Altria Group Inc. (NYSE: MO) is in talks to acquire Cronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CRON). While this news first appeared on Bloomberg, CNBC and Reuters, 24/7 Wall St. wanted to see what Altria really would be acquiring if the rumor about the Toronto, Canada-based cannabis operation proves to be true.
Cronos’s third-quarter revenues for 2018 totaled $3.8 million (up from $1.3 million for the third quarter of 2017). Its kilograms of cannabis sold increased 213% in the third quarter from 164 kilograms in the third quarter of 2017 to 514 kilograms in the third quarter of 2018. The company also noted that strong growth in cannabis oil sales represented 29% of total revenue in the third quarter of 2018.
Cronos is one of the many cannabis-related companies that is being valued today for its future potential rather than for its revenues today. The company has nearly a $1.9 billion market cap for its U.S. listing, but that is after a 16% gain to $10.60 a share on Monday. The stock has a 52-week trading range of $5.12 to $15.30.
Altria’s market cap is over $104 billion, but its share price of $55.63 compares with a 52-week trading range of $52.90 to $74.38. Altria’s 5.75% dividend yield implies that its existing dividend liability is nearly $6 billion per year, compared with 2017 operating income of $9.96 billion.
Here are some facts about Cronos Group from its core assets from its investor relations and most recent earnings release.
Cronos Group owns 100% of Peace Naturals, a company licensed to produce and sell medical marijuana, as well as cultivate cannabis oil, acting under the authority of a license issued by Health Canada pursuant to the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulation (ACMPR). Located in Simcoe County, Ontario, Peace Naturals has 95 acres of land.
Cronos Group owns 100% of Original BC, a company that is currently licensed to cultivate and sell medical marijuana, acting under the authority of a license issued by Health Canada pursuant to the ACMPR. Original BC is located on 31 acres of land in the heart of the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia.
Cronos Group owns a 21.5% interest in Whistler Medical Marijuana Company, a company licensed to produce and sell medical marijuana as well as cultivate cannabis oil, acting under the authority of a license issued by Health Canada pursuant to the ACMPR. The company is certified organic by the Fraser Valley Organic Producers Association.
Cronos also has created NatuEra, what it called the first cannabis contract manufacturing organization in Latin America, and it has said that it received a non-psychoactive plant license.
Cronos said that it has completed construction of its Building 4, a 286,000-square-foot indoor production facility built to good manufacturing practice standards. While this was expected to become fully operational in phases, it has commenced cannabis cultivation after having received its license on August 31, 2018. The company noted with third-quarter earnings that its first harvest from Building 4 is expected by year end 2018.