Aurora latest pot company to disappoint
Aurora Cannabis Inc. will reach profitability before “any of its peers,” but the company’s chairman, Michael Singer, is declining to say exactly when that will happen.
Aurora said in January that it expected to achieve sustained earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization in the quarter ended June 30. It tempered that statement in August, saying it “continues to track toward positive adjusted Ebitda.” However, the metric has proved elusive, with Aurora reporting an adjusted Ebitda loss of $39.7 million for the quarter ended Sept. 30.
Shares tumbled as much as 18 per cent Friday to the lowest in two years.
“It has now become a core focus of our business to reach that milestone as quick as we can,” Singer said in a phone interview Friday. “We believe because of our margins and our low cost of production that we’re in a unique position to be able to deliver that to the market quicker than any of our peers.”
It cost Aurora 85 cents to produce a gram of pot in the quarter, and the company reported cannabis gross margins of 58 per cent. Both metrics are among the best in the industry.
But a slow rollout of storefronts in Canada’s newly legal recreational market, particularly in the province of Ontario, has weighed on the entire sector. On Thursday, Canopy Growth Corp. reported revenue that missed the lowest analyst estimate and booked a large restructuring charge.
Aurora took steps to shore up its balance sheet in the quarter, including suspending construction at two facilities and giving holders of its convertible debentures due in March the option to convert early.
“The market was concerned about where we would get the cash to settle that liability,” Singer said. “I think that’s gone a long way to strengthen our balance sheet.”
Aurora continues to negotiate with potential partners for the U.S. market and expects to make an announcement sometime in calendar 2020, he added.