Consumer Products

What Happened to Canadian Pot Grower Aphria?

Aphria Inc. (NYSE: APHA) reported fiscal third-quarter 2019 results before markets opened Monday. The Canada-based marijuana grower posted a diluted loss per share of C$0.48 on revenue of C$73.58 million. In the same period a year ago, Aphria reported earnings per share (EPS) of C$0.08 on revenue of C$10.63 million. Third-quarter results also compare to the consensus estimates for EPS of C$0.03 on revenue of C$85.22 million.

The net loss included a C$50 million noncash impairment charge of $50 million on the company’s Latin American assets. A special committee of the board hired an advisory firm to review the assets concluded that the assets revealed higher-than-expected expenses and required Aphria to adjust the carrying value of the assets.

The review was begun following charges in December by short-sellers that Aphria insiders, including the chief executive officer, secretly owned shares in the Latin American firm it acquired for C$425 million. Aphria’s former CEO Vic Neufeld later resigned, but company management denied any link to the Latin American purchase.

A second development, also announced Monday morning, was the early termination of an arrangement with GA Opportunities to end a hostile takeover offer from U.S.-based Green Growth Brands. Using a computation based on the closing share prices of both Aphria and Green Growth on Friday, the value of Aphria’s shares in the settlement with Green Growth was determined to be C$6.07, a discount of more than 50% to Friday’s closing share price in Toronto.

On the financial front, however, Aphria’s net revenue jumped more than 600% year over year and gross profit doubled. Excluding noncash impairment charges, Aphria’s net loss per share in the quarter totaled C$0.20, largely the result of expanding the business beyond its capacity to deliver. The company received provisional approval for a cultivation license in Germany for a total production capacity of up to 1,000 kilograms of marijuana.

Investors hammered the stock in Monday’s premarket session in New York, sending the price down more than 12% to $8.87, in a 52-week range of $3.75 to $16.86. The 12-month price target on the shares is C$16.88 ($12.68).