Aurora Cannabis Faces Same Struggles as Other Pot Growers

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Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE: ACB) reported first-quarter fiscal 2020 results after markets closed Thursday. The marijuana grower and distributor reported earnings per share (EPS) of C$0.01 on revenues of C$75.25 million. In the same period last year, the company reported EPS of C$0.12 on revenue of C$29.67 million. Analysts had forecast a net loss per share of C$0.04 and revenues of C$93.36 million. At today’s conversion rate, one Canadian dollar is equal to $0.76 American.

Sequentially, total revenues fell by C$23.7 million and revenues from sales of cannabis fell by C$23.86 million to C$70.78 million.

Canadian consumer sales of cannabis fell by C$33 million sequentially to $30 million. The company attributed the decline to a drop in new orders “as distributors worked through inventories and as the industry was impacted by the slow pace of retail store licensing.”

In the conference call, CEO Terry Booth said that during the summer when supplies of cannabis were plentiful, distributors “stocked their shelves to the limit.” Booth also said that Aurora had put some of its supply “aside,” anticipating sales of derivative products like edibles and vapables that were illegal until October.

The average net sales price of cannabis rose sequentially from $5.32 per gram to $5.68 in the first fiscal quarter. Total production rose 42% sequentially to 41,436 kilograms and kilograms sold dipped from 17,793 kilograms in the fourth fiscal quarter to 12,463 kilograms in the first quarter.

CEO Terry Booth said:

Despite short term distribution and regulatory headwinds in Canada that have temporarily impacted the industry, the long-term opportunity for Aurora in the global cannabis and cannabinoids market is immense. … In order to capitalize on this global market, we recognize the need to be nimble and proactive. To enhance our financial flexibility and position us to take maximum advantage of future growth opportunities, we have also taken decisive steps to immediately strengthen our balance sheet.

Those steps include an offer announced Thursday for debt holders of the company’s C$230 million unsecured, convertible debt due March 9, 2020, voluntarily to convert their debt to shares by November 18 at a 6% discount to the volume-weighted average price for the preceding five days. The company said it has secured commitments to take the early conversion for investors holding about C$155 million.

The company also plans to scale back its capital spending by halting the construction of new growing facilities in Denmark and Canada.

Canada’s leading pot companies had a mixed quarter at best, with Tilray being the only one to beat expectations with a smaller net loss. But falling wholesale prices bedeviled all these firms and unless demand picks up domestically, their struggles are probably not over.

Aurora shares traded down about 8.4% Tuesday morning in New York at $3.02, in a 52-week range of $2.72 to $10.322. The 12-month consensus price target on the stock is C$7.32, or about $5.56.


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